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Teacher Compensation



March 22, 2017 | Senate Approves Bill Expanding Last Year's Bonuses For Third Grade And AP/IB Teachers


Adam Pridemore | NCASA - The full Senate approved legislation this week legislation to provide bonuses for certain teachers who would have received bonuses in late 2016 if they had not moved to a different grade level or course for the current school year. The bill was previously approved by the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Rules Committee.  The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

The 2016 state budget established the Third Grade Reading Teacher Performance Pilot Program to provide bonuses to third grade teachers performing in the top 25% of the state as well as the top 25% in their district, meaning some were eligible for two separate bonuses. Eligibility was based on the student growth index score for third grade reading from the prior school year. However, the provision restricted the bonus awards to teachers who remained employed teaching third grade in the same LEA for the 2016-2017 school year. Due to this restriction written into the state budget, teachers ranking in the top 25% of either the state, their district or both who also moved to a new grade level for the current school year were prohibited by law from receiving it.

Senate Bill 169 – filed by President Pro Tempore of the Senate Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), Sen. Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston), and Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) – addresses this issue by awarding a bonus to otherwise qualifying teachers who no longer taught third grade but remained teaching at the same school, unless the teacher refused to continue teaching third grade in the year the bonus was paid. The bonuses would be for $3,500 to a teacher rated in the top 25% in the state and $3,500 to a teacher rated in the top 25% in their LEA. Teachers are eligible to receive both bonuses if this bill is signed into law during the current legislative session, and they would be paid from state funds already distributed to the Department of Public Instruction for this bonus program.

The bill has a similar provision concerning Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) teachers. The 2016 state budget established the Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Teacher Bonus Pilot Program to provide bonuses to qualifying teacher of AP and IB courses for each student taught who received a certain score on the advanced course examination. The bonus is for $50 per student, up to $2,000. The provision required that to receive a bonus, the teacher must remain employed teaching the AP or IB course in the same LEA at least from the school year the data was collected until the following school year when the bonus was paid. The Senate Education Committee in discussing this bill early in the week heard that in some instances, some AP/IB teachers had been precluded from the bonus simply because the school could not offer their same higher level course this school year because not enough students signed up to make the class feasible.

S169 provides the bonus to otherwise qualifying AP and IB teachers who no longer are teaching AP or IB courses but still teach at the same school, unless the teacher refused to continue teaching the advanced course in the year the bonus was paid.