“Alternative Compensation” in public education is a salary system that is not based solely on the commonly accepted and historically used “single salary schedule,” a pay structure for teachers and education support professionals that is based on years of experience and advanced education. Alternative compensation may be called extra duty pay, merit pay, career ladders, pay for performance, pay for evaluation, or market-based pay and it may apply to an individual employee or to groups of employees. It may be based on advanced degrees or licenses; professional development credits or hours; willingness to work in a hard-to-staff academic subject area or school; additional responsibilities; leadership roles in the school or district; student achievement and student test scores.
CEA’s position on alternative compensation is that any such plan must be developed in collaboration with the local association; be subject to collective bargaining; be research-based; and enhance the single salary schedule with attainable goals that will result in significantly increased compensation and at least the same career earnings potential of the salary schedule. In addition:
- The plan’s goals must be well defined, clear, predictable, and understood by the employees and the administration. The plan should encourage collaboration among colleagues and not create or cause competition, given that all education employees are working together for the common good of the students.
- The plan must be available to all employees (in the collective bargaining unit) without limits on how many employees can qualify for the additional compensation. It should have an opt-in provision for current employees so that they may choose to participate, but not be required to do so. It must protect all employees from losing pay once the system is implemented.
- The plan should provide multiple pathways for an employee to earn the additional compensation and use multiple measures of employee performance.
- An alternative compensation plan must be fully funded and have a guaranteed, sustainable funding source with a provision that the system reverts to a single salary schedule if funding for full implementation is not available.
- The cost of implementing the plan should not be so great that it impacts other financial resources for students and employees.
- A joint committee of educators and district officials should monitor the implementation of the plan at least annually.
- The plan must comply with all state statutes, not only those that govern education employee compensation, but other statutes such as educator licensing and evaluation.
Denver Pro Comp is a compensation system that links teacher pay in Colorado’s second largest school district to the district’s mission. It was designed by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), a CEA affiliate, and the Denver Public Schools. Pro Comp pays teachers based on their knowledge and skills (professional development units or PDUs and advanced degrees and licenses); comprehensive professional evaluation; market incentives for hard-to-serve and hard-to-staff schools and student populations; and student academic growth.
Eagle County Schools Performance-based Compensation Program was begun in 2001 and revised in 2007. After initial placement based on experience and skills, Eagle County teachers are paid based on “performance” in a system that recognizes individual success and schools’ success. Performance pay consists of (1) an annual bonus paid to a teacher from an index of student assessment results (district-wide ACT component; district-wide CSAP component; school-level CSAP component; and school-level NWEA-MAPS component); the bonus is up to four percent of the teacher’s contract salary; and (2) a salary increase on a scale of no increase to four percent based on the individual teacher’s evaluation scores plus a negotiated/inflationary component that varies depending on the cost-of-living, school funding levels, etc.
Douglas County (Colorado) Federation of Teachers (DCFT) Differentiated Pay http://www.dcft.net/
Douglas County teachers negotiated their first pay plan with the Douglas County School Board in 1994. The differentiated pay system includes group incentives, extra pay for extra responsibilities, and added compensation for reaching levels such as "outstanding teacher" and "master teacher" and for acquiring new skills that support the district plan.