The Oakwood Board of Education and Oakwood Teachers’ Association have approved a three-year contract that ties pay increases for teachers to performance and evaluation, not the traditional schedule that provided step increases each year.
Superintendent Mary Jo Scalzo said the district’s COMPASS (Compensate Performance that Affects Student Success) plan is among the first of its kind in the state. Teachers and administrators began working on the idea two years ago.
“We may be the first overall to do this across the board — all teachers, all classified staff and administrators,” she said.
Oakwood Teachers Association president Jay Lane said the contract was approved “by a strong majority” of the union’s more than 150 members.
“Under this plan, our teachers can still be compensated fairly, they can still keep up with teachers in other districts and, even towards the end of their careers they can earn increases. This provides the potential to earn an increase every year, and gives teachers some control over that,” he said.
Evaluations will be based on classroom observation, district-wide performance and directed, self-improvement processes.
Under the contact that takes effect July 1, educators will be eligible for annual raises between 1 and 2.5 percent. Top achievers will be eligible for 0.5 percent more.
Additional stipends may be awarded based on student growth and achievement.
Teachers who complete an intensive professional practice study such as the national board-certification process or the Ohio master teacher licensing program can boost their base salaries by $1,500 every three years.
Under the plan, base-level pay for beginning teachers has been increased from $37,800 to $45,000 to ensure that the district remains competitive on hiring.
The previous system of step-salary increases has been in place since the early 1900s.
Pay has been frozen for the past two years for all Oakwood Schools employees.
The Ohio Department of Education has approved an Alternate Compensation Reform Grant to pay a portion of implementing the COMPASS plan.
Lane said he doesn’t foresee any change in the contract negotiation process in the future.
“There is always a finite amount of money available to the district. Based on that, the amount of money available for step increases has been negotiated. Now we’ll be looking at what percentages of increase could be available.”
Scalzo said other districts have contacted Oakwood about the program. “But this is probably not a one size fits all way of doing things. It was the right way for our district.”
The district hasn’t decided on the size of the levy, but plans to seek additional property tax millage on the November ballot.