MSBA at the Capitol — Bill would fix funding inequity for teacher alternative compensation aid

MSBA at the Capitol — Bill would fix funding inequity for teacher alternative compensation aid

MSBA supported a bill heard Thursday in the Senate Education Committee that would equalize and expand the alternative teacher compensation program for all school districts.

The committee approved SF 1124 (sponsored by Sen. LeRoy Stumpf), which was laid over for possible inclusion in the Senate Omnibus Education Finance Bill.

MSBA lobbyist Denise Dittrich testified in favor of Sen. Stumpf’s proposal.

“It is a little ironic testifying in support of raising the cap on Q Comp dollars since I was in the Legislature in 2005 when Q Comp passed,” Dittrich said, recalling her time as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. “I can speak to the in the intention of the bill as originally intended. First, it was never intended to benefit only a handful of districts. When we passed it, we fully intended to be implemented statewide.”

Dittrich continued: “Second, a statewide teacher evaluation system was not in sight. So here we find ourselves almost 10 years later with a dual system. Some similar goals — one funded one not. A statewide teacher evaluation system is in place, but no systemic funding that would institutionalize its success, quality or longevity. Ten years later, the innovative teacher performance pay system (Q Comp) passed in 2005 is only in 20 percent of our school districts and 44 percent of charter schools.”

The Q Comp districts receive up to $260 per pupil more than a district not in the program. Dittrich said this inequity was about more than money.

“This affects school climate; teacher appreciation and support and ultimately the ability to attract, retain and train (teachers),” she said. “Some school districts have access this and others don’t and this creates inequity that needs to be closed.”

Dittrich said there are two choices: either fund the teacher development evaluation or lift the cap on Q Comp. “This bill is going in the right direction,” she said.

“This inequity should be fixed; this may be one of the most important finance bills we have heard this session” Sen. Terri Bonoff added. “This has a direct impact on teacher quality and student performance.”

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