Principals who take on the job of turning around troubled Lee County schools could be rewarded with up to $10,000 in additional compensation under an administrative salary schedule being considered by the district.
The incentives, which school board members voiced support of on Tuesday, are intended to help recruit and retain high-achieving principals at priority and focus schools.
“I think we need to attack those schools where we have significant problems, and we need to do it sooner rather than later,” board member Tom Scott said. “And this is a way to get it done with the best people we have.”
Turnaround principals who reach or exceed performance goals could in subsequent years receive additional incentives ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, if funding is available.
School board members will again discuss and potentially approve the salary schedule, which also includes raises for high-performing administrators, during their August 21 meeting. The changes would apply to fiscal year 2013. School board members supported the concept, but they wanted several changes made and had questions about it.
Board member Jane Kuckel wanted the provision’s language modified to require board approval, and board member Jeanne Dozier questioned whether principals should be given the incentives before actually making improvements at the schools.
“To go is one thing, but I think you’ve got to have results at that school,” Dozier said. “So at what time does the incentive kick in?”
Superintendent Joseph Burke said the district would only consider effective or highly effective principals for the positions.
“I think what we’re trying to do here is attract people to take on those more difficult assignments,” he said, adding later that the district may eventually expand that by also offering incentive pay to teachers at high-risk schools.
Included in the salary schedule proposed by the district are rewards for highly-successful administrators, which Burke said is aimed at “setting the stage” for a performance-based pay model required under the “Student Success Act” passed by the Legislature in 2011. The law requires districts to link teacher evaluations to pay by 2014.
“We are moving toward a performance-based salary schedule for administrators,” Burke said. “That’s the intent of this.”
Lee county’s proposed salary schedule calls for giving 1 percent raises to teachers rated effective and 2 percent raises to those rated highly effective. Ratings will be handed down from the district and based on student performance, learning gains and other measures.
The raises, which would be the first the district has given administrators in at least three years, would go into effect for the 2013 school year based on performance in the 2012 school year.