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Perrysburg schools are taking a bold step with a new contract that allows teachers to influence how much they get paid, but they have to opt-in to receive benefits.
On Monday, the Perrysburg Board of Education voted to approve the Perrysburg Educational Association contract, Administrative Compensation Plan, as well as contracts for the superintendent and treasurer.
This is one of the first districts in the state to allow performance-based compensation that eliminates pay raises based on seniority for teachers who decide to opt in.
Perrysburg Educational Association
The PEA voted to ratify a three-year contract on Dec. 5. Previously, the PEA had a two-year contract, which expired July 31, 2013. The contract includes a 1.25 percent raise annually, regardless of which salary schedule the teacher is on. The previous two-year contract had included a two-year wage freeze.
The biggest change in the new contract involves teachers having a choice to opt-in to an Alternative Compensation System, which aligns performance with salary increases. Teachers may still choose to remain with the district's traditional salary schedule, which is based on years of experience and education level, but not on individual evaluations.
"For the first time ever, teachers will have the opportunity to influence their individual salary," explained Superintendent Thomas Hosler. "Teachers who opt-in to this system will have ownership of how their performance impacts their paychecks."
Other changes with the new contract include:
-Ohio's Teacher Evaluation System will now rate teachers as ineffective, developing, skilled and accomplished.
Teachers who earn 70 points in a year get moved up to the next pay level, with points awarded by a committee of teachers and administrators. Teachers have to meet several different criteria, rather than just test scores to earn the points.
-One day will be added for teachers this school year, one more the next year for a total of two, and then one more for a total of three for the final year of the contract.
-The Reduction in Force policy is no longer based entirely on seniority; evaluations would now also be weighed if there were to be a Reduction in Force.
-Flexibility was added to the school day at the Junior High School, making it more equitable with other school buildings.
-The medical benefit deductible will go up if premiums increase more than 10 percent over the life of the contract, the co-pay was raised to $50 for emergency room visits and WebDoc is now offered, which is a 24/7 call-in or log-in where the teacher may consult live with a physician at no cost (though he or she may still be referred to a doctor's office or emergency room as necessary).
Administrative Compensation Plan
Administrators have two-year contracts that will be governed by the new Administrative Compensation Plan. Any compensation increase will now be based on performance for all administrators. Unlike the teachers' Alternative Compensation System, administrators do not have a choice to opt-in.
"We hired a nationally-known compensation expert to conduct a comprehensive salary study," explained Aura Norris, executive director of Human Resources and Operations. "He examined our current job descriptions and compensation levels and compared them with market data, as well as other school districts in northwest Ohio and throughout the state. We have designed this system to be comparable to other districts and to be fair and equitable."
The initial placement of each administrator is a one-time alignment process. Any change in compensation moving forward would be contingent upon individual performance/evaluations, as well as overall district and building performance. The salary schedule will be adjusted annually based upon market targets and then administrator performance will be factored in individually.
Three years ago, administrators gave back a scheduled 2.95 percent increase and then agreed to a pay freeze for the following two years. Also during that time, administrators' contributions for health insurance increased to 15 percent for those not yet at that level.
By code, public school district salaries cannot be reduced unless part of a universal change impacting all employees. This is the case for administrators, teachers and support staff members.
Superintendent and treasurer contracts
The contracts for the superintendent and treasurer will be for four years and mirror the administrative contracts. Compensation will also be based on individual and district-level performance.
Three years ago, the superintendent and treasurer gave back a scheduled 2.95 percent increase and then agreed to a pay freeze for the following two years. Also during that time, contributions for health insurance increased to 15 percent for those not yet at that level.
The superintendent's contract is for $129,350 and includes a 2 percent increase. The treasurer's contract is for $101,490 and includes a 2 percent increase.
The Board of Education voted to approve three-year agreements with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees and Exempt Employees on Sept. 26.
"We are very pleased to have all of the employee groups now working under current contracts," said Board President Gretchen Downs. "We are now able to return our attention fully to our mission of ensuring students achieve their greatest potential."
One Perrysburg grandmother supports the new direction for wages.
"If the salesmen aren't performing, then they don't get their bonuses. So it should be the same thing with the teachers. If they aren't doing their job, then they shouldn't be rewarded," said Joan Borden.
Officials say this will be a great recruiting tool to attract and keep some of the brightest minds inside the classroom.
"It's going to make teachers more responsible for what they're teaching in the classroom and how they're teaching it," said Borden.
Teachers who opt in next semester will get a one-time bonus of $1,500. If they wait until the start of next school year that number decreases to $1,000.
Now teachers are faced with an interesting dilemma of sticking with what they know or trying something new.