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Strategic Compensation - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Eligibility, Compensation and Participation

  1. Who is eligible for strategic compensation?
  2. How will teachers and principals who participate in strategic compensation programs in these 14 districts be compensated?
  3. Are teachers and principals in the 4 districts implementing alternative salary schedules required to participate in the programs?
  4. How are teachers and principals who opt out of the program compensated?
  5. Will the state salary schedule continue to set base salaries in districts NOT implementing alternative salary schedules?
  6. Can teacher and principal salaries in participating districts fall below state minimum salaries?
  7. How do the plans guarantee that a teacher’s assignment does not preclude eligibility for a strategic compensation plan?
  8. Can teachers opt in or out of an alternative schedule in future years?  If so, what happens to their salary?
  9. How will districts track which teachers and principals opt in and out of the strategic compensation models, which salary schedule applies and movement on the schedules?

Payouts, Dispute Resolution and Sustainability

  1. When will teachers and principals receive payouts associated with implementation of strategic compensation models in 2011-12?
  2. What happens to payout funds designated for 2011-12 if fewer than expected teachers and principals qualify for strategic compensation awards?
  3. Is there a dispute resolution process for teachers who believe they qualify for an award but do not receive one?
  4. Are the strategic compensation plans sustainable?
  5. If sustainability does not occur, what happens to the teachers who have been on the alternative schedules?

Eligibility, Compensation and Participation

  1. Who is eligible for strategic compensation?
    Teachers and principals in over 100 schools in 14 districts.  Eligibility rules and participant groups vary by district (Bradford SSD, Hamilton County , Hollow-Rock Bruceton SSD, Johnson County, Knox County, Lebanon SSD,  Lexington City, McMinn County, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Putnam County, Shelby County, South Carroll SSD, Tipton County , Trousdale County). - Back To Top
  2. How will teachers and principals who participate in strategic compensation programs in these 14 districts be compensated?
    All fourteen districts are providing performance bonuses to highly effective teachers and principals, supporting instructional leaders and/or providing incentives for teachers to participate in additional professional development and a few are offering recruitment and retention incentives for hard to staff schools and subjects.  In addition, four (Johnson County, Lexington City, Putnam and Trousdale) of the 14 districts are implementing district wide alternative salary schedules.  Salary increases in 2012-13 will be based on evaluation scores in 2011-12.  While plan details vary, salary increases are limited to effective and highly effective teachers and principals (those with evaluation scores between 3 and 5). - Back To Top
  3. Are teachers and principals in the 4 districts implementing alternative salary schedules required to participate in the programs?
    In most cases, teachers and principals joining a district as new hires in 2011-12 are required to participate but those employed in the 2010-11 school year may opt in or out of the program.  But plan details vary.  For example, one alternative salary schedule restricts the participation of teachers and principals with 20 years or more of service to the bonus part of the model. - Back To Top
  4. How are teachers and principals who opt out of the program compensated?
    In most cases, those who opt out of the program will continue to make yearly advances according to the state “step and level” schedule.  However, one district restricts future salary increases for those who opt out of the alternative salary schedule to steps and levels within the 2011-12 salary schedule. - Back To Top
  5. Will the state salary schedule continue to set base salaries in districts NOT implementing alternative salary schedules?
    Yes.  All teachers and principals in the state remain on the state salary schedule EXCEPT those participating in alternative salary schedules in four districts (Johnson County, Lexington City, Putnam and Trousdale).  As discussed in #4, those opting out remain on the state salary schedule in three of the four districts and advance within the 2011-12 schedule within the fourth district. - Back To Top
  6. Can teacher and principal salaries in participating districts fall below state minimum salaries?
    Base salary cannot decline for any teacher or principal employed in a participating district during 2010-11.  However, base salaries for new hires in the four districts participating in alternative salary schedules may be lower than those in the state salary schedule.  But since the plans are designed to attract, reward and retain high performing teachers and principals, there are likely to be few such cases. - Back To Top
  7. How do the plans guarantee that a teacher’s assignment does not preclude eligibility for a strategic compensation plan?
    The plans do not guarantee that teachers and principals can participate.  Participation is governed by eligibility rules and participation groups, which vary across participating districts. - Back To Top
  8. Can teachers opt in or out of an alternative schedule in future years?  If so, what happens to their salary?
    Opt-in/out procedures within and across years and resulting salaries differ in each of the four alternative salary schedules. - Back To Top
  9. How will districts track which teachers and principals opt in and out of the strategic compensation models, which salary schedule applies and movement on the schedules?
    Strategic compensation, technology and human resource staff will develop reports to identify participants and non-participants, salary schedules and movement within salary schedules. - Back To Top

Payouts, Dispute Resolution and Sustainability

  1. When will teachers and principals receive payouts associated with implementation of strategic compensation models in 2011-12?
    Since 2011-12 assessment and evaluation data will not be available until the summer of 2012, performance bonuses, which depend on these measures, will not be made until the fall of 2012.  Instructional support, professional development and hard to staff incentives for 2011-12 may be available as early as the fall of 2011 depending on plan details.  It is likely that salary increases in 2012-13 will be made retroactively in the four districts implementing alternative salary schedules since salary increases in 2012-13 will be determined by 2011-12 evaluation scores. - Back To Top
  2. What happens to payout funds designated for 2011-12 if fewer than expected teachers and principals qualify for strategic compensation awards?
    Unallocated payouts will carryover to support payouts associated with implementation of the 2012-13 strategic compensation models. - Back To Top
  3. Is there a dispute resolution process for teachers who believe they qualify for an award but do not receive one?
    Yes.  Each district has a strategic compensation issue resolution process that will include an avenue for appeals.  The strategic compensation issue resolution process is limited to strategic compensation issues.  The accuracy of evaluation data and fairness of evaluation procedures are beyond the scope of the strategic compensation issue resolution process.  Such matters are governed by the local-level evaluation procedure. - Back To Top
  4. Are the strategic compensation plans sustainable?
    The federal grants supporting the strategic compensation plans require sustainability.  Beginning in 2012-13, districts will contribute local funds to support their plans and do so increasing amounts thereafter.  As a result, the plans will be fully sustainable at the end of the grant period. - Back To Top
  5. If sustainability does not occur, what happens to the teachers who have been on the alternative schedules?
    Details vary by plan but in general, teachers will return to the state salary schedule. - Back To Top