Charlotte-Mecklenburg school (CMS) teachers are taking control of their paycheck. They have been meeting frequently trying to come up with a plan to deal with pay for performance. State leaders have encouraged school districts to come up with a plan.
CMS Chief Operating Officer (COO) Millard House thinks having a pay for performance plan for the district's nearly 9,000 teachers will make a difference.
"We want to have avenues where teachers want to stay in the district," House said. "And they have different pathways to continue in the profession without walking out of the classroom."
Many teachers think they can only get more money if they go into administration and become a principal or assistant principal. The plan could include teachers getting paid more for the extra responsibilities they do in the their individual schools.
"Such as being department chairs," CMS teacher Michael Pillsbury said. "Team leaders, content specialist."
Pillsbury is one of the teachers who has been working on the plan. He believes having teachers get paid more for their involvement in school activities is a good pay for performance plan. He wants teachers to have a career path by staying teachers.
"We're losing some good people," Pillsbury said. "And a lot of it is because of the stress and the other responsibilities that they have. I think if they are compensated for those things - that's not as stressful. You don't feel like you're wasting your time and spinning your wheels."
Teachers agreed they didn't want testing to be the focus of pay for performance.
"There is so much more than what we do in the class," Pillsbury said. "Besides testing."
House says despite the fact teachers don't want test results to be the focus of pay for performance, board members can override want teachers want.
"It really depends on what school districts value more." House said.
CMS' COO also says he doesn't know how much pay for performance will cost but he does know the district is doing the right thing in submitting a pay for performance plan to the state.
"We see this as an opportunity," House said. "To at least bring our voice to the table and have a draft of what we feel can be something people can pay attention to."
Pillsbury also said teachers will have the option to join the pay for performance plan. It won't be mandatory. Teachers have weighed in on this plan and will continue to add their thoughts as the process continues. Teachers believe having a plan not tied so much to test results but rather on the added responsibilities a teacher takes on is the way to tackle the controversial subject of pay for performance.
"We want them to see that there is an opportunity to grow," Pillsbury said. "A lot of good teachers want to stay in the classroom."
CMS school board will look at the plan the end of February and submit the plan to state leaders by March 1st.