Sun Prairie Area School District, Wisconsin
Changing teacher pay models after Act 10
The Sun Prairie Area School District is now requiring teachers to take 60 hours of professional development courses in order to step up to the district's next pay level. The district is also adjusting salaries for teachers with certification in high-need subject areas to help retain and attract good teachers. This model follows a new trend in changing teacher pay plans after Wisconsin's Act 10 came into effect.
Act 10 prohibits unions from negotiating anything more than base wages up to the rate of inflation, leaving the rest of a teacher's salary up to the school district. This has created an atmosphere of competition, as districts can now offer signing bonuses, raises and to pay resignation fees for teachers who leave a district mid-year. Prior to Act 10, teachers had many incentives to stay in a district long term. This new competitive atmosphere came with a rise in teacher turnover in some districts. If teachers are unhappy with a district's pay plan, they know other districts might have better offers.
Tim Culver, Sun Prairie's superintendent, said it's valuable for a district to be able to reward teachers who have degrees in competitive fields like engineering and agriculture. Under the new plan, the district can offer more money to teachers with multiple degrees.
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