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Plum teacher pay raises to be based on student performance

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Performance-based pay has made its way to the Plum School District.

The Plum School Board last week voted to approve a new four-year agreement with the district's administrators in which salary increases, in part, will be tied to student performance.

“It's the first time we've used pay for performance,” board member Sal Colella said. “It sets a different bar.”

The Act 93 Agreement — as it is named — covers administrators' employment terms including evaluations, compensation and fringe benefits for about 20 district employees including Superintendent Timothy Glasspool, building principals, athletic director, technology and food service directors, among others.

The Act 93 employees each received 2 percent raises last year. The new agreement extends from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017.

Glasspool said beginning July 1, a total of 36 possible points on a 100-point evaluation scale will be related to student performance.

Glasspool said the administrators will be evaluated based upon adequate yearly progress (AYP) that measures how each school in a district is performing academically according to results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment scores. Results of the Keystone Exams also will be taken into consideration.

All Plum schools, with the exception of Pivik Elementary, made AYP in both math and reading last year. Pivik made AYP in math. The school, though, has been placed on the state's warning list as a result of its reading score.

The district's students also exceeded the state average scores on the Keystone exams, except in algebra I.

The tests were administered last December.

Glasspool said administrators such as the technology and food service director are being held to the same standards as others who are more on the front lines of education because “everyone has a hand in student achievement.”

Tom Templeton, assistant executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association said under legislation enacted last year, superintendents hired as of September 2012 are subject to an evaluation process that includes student performance on standardized tests.

Other administrators and teachers will fall under the mandate “over the next couple years,” Templeton said.

Templeton said some school districts across the state are including student performance in the evaluations of all administrators even though they are not mandated to do so at this time.

“The driving force would be accountability, transparency and the need to develop clear measures to evaluate performance and to thoughtfully justify employment decisions related to superintendents in particular,” Templeton said.

Plum School Board President Andrew Drake aims to extend performance pay for teacher evaluations.

“We have to do this with the teacher's contract,” Drake said during the meeting.

Plum Borough Education Association President Martha Freese did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The district's contract with its 275 teachers expires June 30, 2014.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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