Nineteen teachers in the Milton School District will not receive pay increases for positive evaluations this year after a school board decision Monday.
To give those teachers pay increases, the board would have had to approve adjusting the district’s compensation model to extend its limit for merit pay based on evaluations. The 19 teachers affected will hit the limit next school year.
Board members Tom Westrick, Joe Martin, Karen Hall, Mike Pierce and Brian Kvapil voted against adjusting the model but said they want to revisit it next year before teacher contracts are issued.
The Milton School District has a compensation model, called a matrix, that dictates pay increases for teachers based on successful evaluations and professional development.
The district has used the matrix since the 2016-17 school year and was created to better retain staff.
Teachers advance a step in the matrix each year they have a positive evaluation. Each step indicates a pay raise ranging from $500 to $2,000.
Teachers who reach the final step no longer have any monetary incentive for a successful evaluation.
The 2019-20 school year is the first year the district will have teachers who reached the end of the matrix.
Board member Diamond McKenna said multiple staff members and representatives from the teachers union asked her and the board to find a way to compensate the teachers.
Superintendent Tim Schigur and the administrative team recommended the board come up with a flat dollar amount to give the 19 teachers, who make up about 7% of the teaching staff.
Westrick said these concerns were brought to the human resources committee too late for them to make a decision considering teacher contracts are already signed for next year.
That concern was echoed by Hall, Kvapil and Pierce.
The 19 teachers will receive the 2.44% base wage increase the board approved after negotiations with the union. State law does not allow the district to negotiate benefits like health care or merit pay after the passage of Act 10 in 2011.
In a human resources committee meeting last week, Westrick said the board approved giving the teachers the maximum base wage increase and did not make any changes to benefits, so he thought it was fair not to make any changes to merit pay based on evaluations this year.
Teachers have known about the compensation model for three years and should have known they would be reaching the end of their evaluation bonuses, Westrick said.
Many people don’t look ahead in the system until they are affected, McKenna said.
McKenna said she thought the board owed it to staff members to look into the budgetary impact of giving merit pay to the 19 teachers.