By Barbara Wood
In a radical departure from the way teachers have been paid in the past, Portola Valley School District teachers will soon receive raises based on their performance, advanced training, and their students' performance, and not on the number of years they have been in the district.
Under a contract unanimously approved Wednesday night (May 29) by the district's governing board, starting in the 2013-14 school year the district's teachers will get raises based on annual evaluations and completion of additional training. Step increases based on mere longevity will be phased out over the next two school years while the alternative criteria are phased in.
John Davenport, Portola Valley Teachers Association president, says the new contract is "a rare instance, in which a school district and a teachers' union have come together to redesign the way teachers are evaluated and paid."
District Superintendent Carol Piraino said the new contract is "a real win-win for everybody. ... I think it's great." She said the change will lead to "a really great incentive program."
Superintendent Piraino said only a few other districts she knows of, including those in Denver and in San Jose, have adopted similar contracts.
"My personal belief is it will become the trend and will be where many contracts will go in the future."
According to material prepared for the board showing the cost of the new contract, the teachers' overall pay will increase by 3.5 percent by the 2014-15 school year. Teachers will see no increase in the amount paid toward their medical, vision or dental plans.
New hires will not be eligible for the program for their first two years, but will continue to receive the step increases until they are approved as permanent employees.
The new contract also includes a 1 percent bonus for teachers for the current school year as well as a 1 percent cost-of-living increase.
Click here for the school board meeting material, and go to page 88 to review the new contract.