45 Days to Apply for State Aid to Develop Teacher Performance Pay Plan

Do you live in Colorado? Does your school district or charter school have a compensation system that rewards successful teachers? If not, could you come up with a plan in the next 45 days? There may be state money in it to help your cause.

Led by Senator Nancy Spence (R-Centennial), the Colorado state legislature earlier this year allotted some money for local education agencies that want to develop their own alternative teacher compensation systems. Now the chance has come to put this piece of legislation into action.

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) released an important reminder today:

The program will allow districts to develop their own individual plans to alternatively compensate educators. A result of the passage of House Bill 08-1388, CDE’s Office of Professional Services will manage the program, with money appropriated from the Colorado Education Fund.

A total of $980,000 is available for distribution. There is no maximum that any applicant may request. However, a strong justification for the amount being requested is required….

Applications are due Friday, Jan. 30, 2009 and can be found at http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/ALTCOMP.htm. Applicants will be notified of awards by Friday, Feb. 6. Awarded school districts will be required to submit a project completion financial report to CDE for the State Legislature before Tuesday, Sept. 30, following completion of the program planning process. [emphasis added]

Quality classroom instruction is the single most important factor our schools can control to do the best for students like me. And performance-based pay is one important policy tool we have to promote effective teaching.

With its ProComp system (PDF), Denver is one of the local school districts leaders in the movement. Others include Douglas County, Eagle County, Harrison, and Fort Lupton. Charter schools like Liberty Common School and The Classical Academy also have been innovators in the area of teacher compensation.

Through the legislature’s initiative and CDE’s administration, more local innovation in how teachers are paid soon may be coming to Colorado.