The Charlotte Mecklenburg School board approved a plan Tuesday night to judge which teachers will be offered bonuses that total $5,000 over four years. CMS teachers will be awarded points for good evaluations, working in a hard-to-fill subject like math, and having an advanced degree and board certification. Growth of student test scores will not be a factor.
Erika Ellis-Stewart voted for the plan, but said she did so grudgingly.
“It’s not a vote against our teachers because I support our teachers wholeheartedly. It’s not a vote for the legislation because I disagree with it. My vote is solely because we, as a district and as a government body, we are required to operate within the bounds of the law,” she said.
Many other board members felt the same way. By state law, the bonuses can only be offered to twenty-five percent of teachers in the district. Only teachers who have been with CMS for three years can receive them and, in exchange, they have to give up tenure.
The CMS board wants the state to delay the bonuses for a year and come up with a better way to offer them. Board members say they worry the bonuses pit teachers against each other at a time when morale is already low due to stagnant wages. The North Carolina Association of Educators and the Guilford and Durham County school districts have decided to sue to stop the bonuses.