Educators learn about QComp pay

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 18, 2005

ST. PAUL (AP) &045; Hundreds of teachers and school administrators got a crash course Wednesday on a new system for tying teacher raises to performance instead of seniority, but only a couple of districts are on the verge of making the switch.

Participants came armed with questions about how to apply, how to structure raises and how to get buy-in among to teachers. They left with tips on setting standards, analyzing data and going forward with negotiations.

&uot;It’s not a simple conversion,&uot; said Linda Trevorrow, the state Department of Education official in charge of the program, dubbed QComp. &uot;It’s not just about the salary change. It’s more about a systematic change.&uot;

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The department put on the seminar to provide more details about the voluntary salary swap the Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed off on a month ago. More than 800 people attended, exceeding organizers’ expectations.

The heavy turnout was understandable given the financial incentives lawmakers attached to QComp. Districts where administrators and unions agree to overhaul traditional pay models can qualify for $260 more per child in state aid, part of an $86 million pot statewide.

Before the Qcomp incentives, districts are entitled to at least $4,783 per student in state aid for the coming year.

For decades, teacher pay has been determined by locally developed steps-and-lanes grids, which reward years of service and college credits earned on the side.

Under QComp, 60 percent of raises will be based on teacher evaluations and gains by students at the classroom and school levels. In participating districts, administrators and teachers will come up with local plans for measuring performance, subject to approval by the state. Teachers can never lose pay for missing their goals.

The money the Legislature set aside for QComp won’t cover all of the districts in the state, making the program first-come, first-serve. State officials are counting on many districts requiring a year or more to transition into the program.