CEDAR CITY — Many Utah teachers could be getting more money if their performance is above par during the upcoming school year.

The State Board of Education voted to approve most of the performance-based compensation plans this afternoon during meetings at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

The vote was 10 to 1, with board member Bill Colbert dissenting.

The individual plans are proposed by school districts and charter schools. A total of 87 merit plans were received last month out of a possible 108, according to the Utah State Office of Education.

Eight of the 87 plans, labeled as vague, are still pending approval. School districts and charter schools that handed in plans lacking sufficient detail have until Sept. 1 to revamp their proposals. Districts and charter schools responsible for these plans will be notified via letter, according to USOE officials.

According to State Board agenda packet documents, the school districts that need to add more information to their plans are Kane and Weber. The charter schools are Venture Academy, Providence Hall, Legacy Preparatory Academy, Paradigm High School, Odyssey Charter School and Noah Webster Academy.

The State Board's green light for the complete and detailed plans is provisional of approval by the local boards of school districts and charter schools who haven't yet done so. The redone plans also need local board approval.

All local board approval for all the plans must be done by Sept. 1.

"We want to be careful of governance issues and be respectful of local boards," said State Board member Janet Cannon.

Legislators aim to review and comment on the plans in August.

The State Board also agreed to request USOE staff to develop guidelines to evaluate and offer feedback regarding outcomes of this experiment of merit plans. This could be offered to the legislature as to what works and what doesn't.

During the last few months, school districts and charter schools statewide have been developing their own plans to distribute legislative funding based on how well an educator is doing his or her job.

Thirty-seven of the applications were from school districts while 50 were from charter schools. Three districts, Daggett, Tintic and Uintah, are not participating.

Eighteen charter schools are not participating.

The compensation-based plans are a result of SB281, which came out of the 2008 legislative session in March. The legislature earmarked $20 million in one-time funding for the compensation plans. The money is to be doled out to districts and charter schools based on enrollment.

In April, the program was presented to the State Board and passed a first and second reading. The rule was then adopted on the third reading in May.

The districts were required to have their plans to the State Office of Education by June 30.

A USOE staff committee assigned by the State Board has spent the last few days reviewing the plans. Local governing boards for school districts and charter schools will be required to approve the plans later.

Many of the performance-based compensation plans are a mix of elements such as test data. Others included teacher assessments such as surveys from parents and students, as well as principal judgement.

"It's interesting how districts and charter schools have approached this," said Larry Shumway, associate superintendent of law, legislation and educational services for the USOE.

Some of the plans are 30 to 40 pages long. Others consist of one page. The requirements included listing who is eligible, the criteria and how it will be assessed.

Reports of each school district and charter school in the state are to be available at www.schools.utah.gov/board/otpbcp/

The State Board of Education was in joint meetings today that included members of the public education appropriations subcommittee; education interim committee; higher education appropriations subcommittee; State Board of Regents; and governor's office representatives.


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