Task force supports increasing base pay for Iowa teachers by $10,000

Also outlines system for promotion, pay raises

Mike Wiser
Published: September 21 2012 | 6:27 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 12:49 am in

Starting pay for teachers will go up by close to $10,000 over the next three years under a recommendation by a state task force going to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The task force also will recommend a system for teacher promotion and pay raises that depend, in part, on what type of role the teacher takes in a school system.

Those are two of 13 recommendations contained in a rough draft signed off on Friday by a state task force. The final recommendations expected to be released Oct. 15, along the recommendations of other task forces looking at state education issues.

Taken together, the recommendations are expected to form the basis of Branstad’s 2013 education reform package. The parts on teacher pay and leadership roles will become the centerpiece — and potentially the most controversial — parts of the legislation.

“A lot of the stakeholders are part of this task force,” Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass said. “I think that consensus that we arrived (at) is a real important part of this.”

The group included staff from the department, teachers, higher education officials and others.

Glass said the approach was different from the 2012 education reform package that was “really worked on internally first and then released” publicly.

That package met with limited legislative success. Lawmakers pared back several of parts of the governor’s proposal, eliminating such items as annual supervisor performance evaluations for teachers, a mandatory 3.0 grade point-average requirement for incoming teachers and a strict policy of retention for third-graders who cannot read at grade level.

"I think we still have to see the final product,” said Iowa Education Association Executive Director Mary Jane Cobb, who was one of the 24 task force members. Cobb said she felt teachers were “at the table” in the task force.

The group is recommending starting pay for teachers go up to a minimum of $35,000 a year, with an average of $40,000 to $45,000 for starting pay statewide. The starting pay increases would build over a three-year period. Current minimum starting pay for a teacher is $28,000 a year.

Once in the system, the task force recommended that teachers be put in one of six roles: initial, career, model, mentor, lead and emeritus.

As a teacher moves up the ladder, he or she receives higher pay, but also is expected to take on more responsibility, particularly in respect to helping less experienced and poorer performing teachers better their skills.

“Those roles still need some flushing out,” said Ryan Wise, a facilitator who led the task force through the recommendation process and expects to have a final document ready for the group to sign off on next week

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