MUSD board votes to continue performance pay

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MUSD Human Resources Director Tom Beckett, shown here at a Sept. 2021 meeting, outlined the district's updated teacher and counselor performance pay structure at last week's governing board meeting [Jay Taylor]

The Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board voted unanimously Wednesday to continue performance pay for staff who work directly with students.

Performance pay increases average $4,000 per year, funds coming from the state’s Classroom Site Fund.

Performance pay now is included automatically in teacher and counselor salaries rather than having it based on individual evaluations.

“Last year, the average was $4,200,” said MUSD Human Resources Director Tom Beckett. “This year, we rolled the pay into salaries. Part of the requirement to receive the classroom site fund dollars is that districts still have to have a performance pay element in their compensation plan. We wanted a mechanism that was more stable, and this provides that.”

For each teacher and counselor, $4,000 was added to their salaries and the amount for which they are evaluated was reduced to $200.

“This gets us away from the pressure on those employees worrying about how they are being evaluated by a principal for that bonus and allows them to just focus on the students,” Beckett said.

There are four evaluation levels: highly effective, effective, partially effective and ineffective.

Beckett said it was better for teachers and students to move the pay into salary rather than performance bonuses.

“We’ve found that performance pay has a very minor impact on student performance,” he said.  “Hitting employees in the pocketbook might work in some industries, but it doesn’t make sense in education. We work with the teachers if they fall short to try to make them a better teacher. If they can’t handle that, we have a responsibility to have the most effective teachers in the classroom.

“We feel like we hire well, we encourage our teachers to grow and learn, and we do everything we can to make them successful.”