Gov. Sonny Perdue is looking to change the way teachers get paid in Georgia, basing salaries on performance instead of tenure and advanced degrees.
Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter said local officials are “curious” about the proposed idea, which could start by 2014 if Perdue’s plans move forward.
“What we’re curious about is how it will be funded in this time of economic distress,” Porter said Jan. 22. “We’re presently trying to ensure we meet the existing payroll.”
Porter said a decision on something so far off may be “shortsighted...we have no way of knowing whether we can fund this in the future.”
Another problem, Porter said, lies in an educational leader’s ability to make the call on teacher salary.
“Educational leaders have never been placed in a position of actually determining the amount of money a teacher receives, so it would be necessary to have a really accurate teacher evaluation system for us to be able to implement that,” Porter said.
Professional Association of Georgia Educators spokesman Tim Callahan echoed that sentiment.
“It would be a great day if we really had the ability to comprehensively, accurately and fairly measure the impact a great teacher has on a student,” Callahan said. “But we are eons from that date now.”
The salary proposal is part of the federal Race to the Top initiative, which could provide more than $400 million to the state.
Porter said 2011 state funding was cut for National Board Certified Teaching — an initiative that rewards teachers who excel in specified areas. Dawson County schools has several teachers in the district with the designation.
“The governor’s not going to fund their increase in pay, but yet we’re talking about doing a different merit pay system in the future,” Porter said.
“I have a hard time understanding the reasoning behind starting another pay-performance program, when we’re not funding the National Board Certified teachers,” he said.
DCN Regional staff writer Jennifer Sami contributed to this report.