Those of you who signed up for the Pay for Performance portion of the Teacher Incentive Fund shouldn't be counting your money just yet. Even though the DISD web site still lists payouts for individual teachers' CEIs and SEIs for four deciles, as one DISD Administrator said yesterday, "Changes are in the works."
This comment made yesterday during the Teacher Incentive Fund Advisory Council meeting indicates to us that the DISD Administration is looking to make changes to the payouts to their Pay for Performance Plan. During the 2007-2008 school year, the District piloted this program in 59 schools. This year, 2008-2009, the District decided to make the plan available to almost all DISD schools and their teachers.
The payouts for 2008-2009 will come in the fall of 2009. However, don't expect them to be as advertised. The Administration is looking to slash the payouts because of their budget woes and the simple fact that even though this program is being paid for by a federal grant, the grant amount each year decreases while the District's responsibility increases.
According the DISD Administrator chairing the meeting, the District is looking at two options.
A) Eliminate the payout for the lowest deciles for both the CEI and SEI. ($2000 for the CEI, $1250 for the SEI)
B) Additionally, the District would reduce the remaining payouts for the top three deciles. (Currently the top three deciles are listed to be paid out at $8,000, $6000, and $4000. The reduction in payout could be quite extreme: by as much as 50%.)
Eliminate the ability for teachers to win both the CEI award and the SEI award. Teachers would only be eligible to attain the highest of the two. Not both combined.
The result of these changes could be quite significant to teachers. Instead of a maximum of $10,000, the maximum award could be as low as $5,000. Maybe even lower!
The Administrator was quick to point out that, "Nothing is set in stone," and advised that we all should keep an eye on the Board agendas to see what the Administration will bring forward.
NEA-Dallas has opposed this Pay for Performance Plan from the beginning. We have done so because of two reasons:
1) Employees do not have a stable salary schedule. (The Board of Trustees can waive the schedule in district policy at their discretion.); and,
2) The award is generated by the CEI and SEI. (We believe that neither of these measurements are truly accurate indicators of a teacher's abilities. And, we were afraid that once teachers signed off on being paid by these indicators, the Administration would turn around and use them to harm teachers. That fear has become a reality this Spring as hundreds of teachers had their contracts "non-extended" simply because their CEI Quintile was a 1.)
And now we have yet a third reason, The District cannot be trusted to keep its promises!
Teachers, now is the time for you to be diligent as to what the Administration will be proposing to the Board and what the Board will subsequently do with that proposal. The Administration seems to be talking out of both sides of its mouth. On one side, they tell everyone, "Sign up for this plan and you could earn up to an additional $10,000" while on the other, "We're so sorry, but we just don't have the money to pay you what we promised, and what you earned."