Janesville teachers could soon see a new salary structure that would reward both years with the district and professional development.
On Tuesday, the Janesville School Board will consider a new pay scale designed to retain good teachers and be economically sustainable over time, according to a memo from Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Human Services Scott Garner.
The memo was part of the board’s information packet for Tuesday’s meeting.
If the proposed structure is approved, it would be the third change in the way teachers are paid since Act 10 passed in 2011.
Under the terms of Act 10, the state law that stripped public unions of most of their bargaining rights, unions can negotiate only for raises up to the amount of the consumer price index.
For example, in December 2016, teachers received raises of 0.12 percent for the 2016-17 school year.
In addition to that, the district instituted a pay-for-performance policy that allowed teachers to qualify for additional raises. At first, the system required teachers to get a rating of “effective” in five of six categories, including professional knowledge, instructional planning, instructional delivery, assessment for and of learning, learning environment and professionalism.
In the first year of the system, nearly 99 percent of teachers qualified for raises. The board then voted to lower the standards, so it was even easier to get a raise.
In August, Janesville Superintendent Steve Pophal asked the board to do away with the pay-for-performance system, saying it discouraged teachers from taking risks and required too much paperwork.
The proposed system has eight levels with several steps within each level.
For example, level one has four steps, each one representing a year of teaching. If a teacher’s contract is renewed after each year, he or she is entitled to a $1,200 raise.
Teachers are required to stay at level one for at least two years, with certain exceptions.
In order to move up to level two, teachers would have to earn 90 approved hours of professional development. Those hours could include district professional training or credits from approved graduate courses.
The cost for professional development comes out of the teachers’ pockets. Six credits of graduate school work would equal 90 hours of professional development. At the UW-Whitewater, six credits of graduate work would cost about $3,000.
If level one teachers have not completed 90 hours of professional development after four years at level one, they no longer get a raise. Instead, each year they would receive a $500 stipend.
In moving from level one to level two, educators would receive an additional $3,600 to their base salary.
Level two also has four steps, each one representing a year of teaching. Teachers must stay at level two for a minimum of three years, with certain exceptions. For the first four years at this level, teachers would receive a $1,200 raise. After four years, their salaries would be frozen.
Moving up to level three would require 135 hours of professional development.
The salary structure has eight levels.
Implementing the proposed pay structure would cost an additional $1.2 million next year, according to the memo from Garner.
If the salary structure is approved, starting teachers would earn $42,000. Starting teachers now make about $37,000, said district officials.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction from 2016 shows that the low salary in the Janesville School District was $36,415 and the high salary was $78,457. The average salary at that time was $55,216.