The two year contract includes a starting salary of $30,000 for first-year teachers and a 2.56% cost of living increase for all teachers, as well as step increases.
The program began October 31, 1999. Although teachers voted at 12 (of 82) elementary schools to participate, none of the middle schools did (out of 18). According to the EA Vice President, who is a member of the 4-person oversight committee, more than half of the teachers in elementary and middle schools did vote to participate. A campaign was launched to find the two middle schools.
Among the reasons given for the lack of enthusiasm are: 1) too little time to inform teachers, 2) mistrust of district administrators, 3) doubts that the money is worth the effort, 4) being held more accountable when they cannot control students' families nor other factors affecting students, 5) fears of unfair evaluations, and 6) little motivation for students to do well on tests which will measure the program's success.
Experts from national education and research organizations will help judge teachers' goals and the results. If the program is adopted permanently, and students fail to achieve target scores, teachers will lose traditional automatic longevity increases.
A final note: the DPS Board, at the end of November, approved a plan making the Superintendent's entire performance pay dependent on student achievement in third, fourth and seventh grade reading and writing tests. The rest of the administrators' raises will be withheld next year if students do not show an 8% improvement on state reading tests.