What about Merit Pay?

Merit Pay

One has to wonder why Fairfield County’s local State and House Delegation is pushing to transform our school board from all volunteer to all salaried. Where would the money come from and what service would, subsequently, receive less monetary support? Does the Delegation feel a need to upgrade the school board talent pool via salaries?  Do they believe the school board works harder than the rest of the county’s multitude of volunteer board members? Clearly, this proposal begs many questions but the one which really matters is how will transferring school money into the hands of former volunteers improve the students’ lot?

Of course, the only way paying the school board will help students is if the Trustees’ pay is tied to achievement.

The National School Board Association sizes up a school board thusly: “The most important responsibility of school boards is to work with their communities to improve student achievement in their local public schools.”

So, let’s pay the school board based on factors that will actually improve students’ achievement, such as improving state and national student assessments, increasing teacher retention rates, increasing graduation rates, and increasing two- and four-year continuing education placement rates. If the board can significantly move the needle on student and school achievement, then pay them – but only with a reasonable annual bonus tied to that achievement.

Since pay is, apparently, a motivating factor for the school board, let’s dangle that motivating carrot for the students’ benefit. This type of pay structure ensures we do not enrich the trustees unless they enrich the students. Fair enough?