FARMINGTON — In Davis School District, everyone is considered to be contributing to the education of students and worthy of merit pay, whether they are a teacher, bus driver or part-time cafeteria worker.

"Every employee is important in improvement of student learning. Every employee plays a role. Every employee has an impact," said Chris Wahlquist, Davis district director of research and assessment.

The Davis School Board unanimously approved its performance-based compensation plan during its meeting Tuesday night.

Davis board vice president Tamara Lowe said she voted for the plan because it has measurable goals, is doable and is inclusive of all employees. "It's available to everybody," Lowe said. "We all have the same purpose: to do the best for the children of our district."

The plan calls for merit pay for licensed teachers and also classified employees. It encompasses full- and part-time workers.

"You don't necessarily have to be in front of the classroom to have an impact — to give someone a reason to better themselves," said Davis District spokesman Chris Williams.

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

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.

Davis District, with approximately 63,000 students, is slated to receive $2.4 million.

Each Davis District employee who takes part in the voluntary merit-based program could receive a minimum of $300 if all of the approximately 7,000 employees participate. Employees working fewer than four hours a day would be eligible to receive a minimum of $150. Employees would get the funding in their August 2009 paycheck.

Davis' four-page plan is a "continuous quality improvement model," Wahlquist said.

The district is following the theme of the Malcolm Baldridge business model that focuses on total quality improvement. It touches on the idea that it doesn't matter how good a person is, they can always improve on something, Wahlquist said.

The district's plan is based on the employee setting a goal, assessing their current actions, determining what needs to be improved, gathering data on how they have made that improvement, analyzing it as they go along and reflecting on what they have learned at the end.

The goal could be as simple as a teacher seeing fourth-graders struggling with adverbs and vowing to help the students master that skill, Wahlquist said.

Some teachers may work in teams for a goal. Entire schools in the district could work on a goal, she said.

Local supervisors will review and approve submitted goal plans this fall. Completed plans will be evaluated and employees will be notified in June if they are to receive compensation. There is an appeals process.


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