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The Payson school board last week approved teacher merit pay increases.

They hit darn near every goal.

So the Payson school board last week approved $428,000 worth of merit pay increases for the district’s teachers for fiscal year 2018-19, paid for out of a voter-funded classroom fund.

Teachers and principals agree on three goals at the start of each school year. Teachers get a roughly $3,700 bonus if they meet all three goals — declining with each mark they miss.

This year teachers made 292 of the 306 goals, many of which key on student progress in testing or other academic measurements.

The state-mandated classroom site fund covered 95 teachers paid out of the general fund. The 2,300-student district has roughly another 30 teachers paid out of other funds — including federal and other programs. That includes five kindergarten teachers paid through federal Title 1 money

The average teacher in the district makes about $46,000 for a nine-month contract, so the merit pay bonus adds roughly 8 percent to the pay of the average teacher.

Statewide, the average teacher makes about $49,000, but that’s still one of the lowest averages in the country. Arizona’s nearly last in per-student funding and teachers here have to cope with the largest average class sizes in the country.

Most of the teachers in the district hit their goals and so qualify for the merit pay increase.

Contact the writer at

Contact the writer at paleshire@payson.com

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(1) comment

Phil Mason

I have a simple question that I would like clarified. Does Payson follow the pattern other districts across the state utilize where the teachers write their own goals for merit pay increases?

I have NEVER failed to meet my own goals for pay increases. I do not ascribe any nefarious intent with the system, but when teachers hit nearly every mark while student achievement scores are spiraling downward, I question the efficacy of the process.

The article states - "This year teachers made 292 of the 306 goals, many of which key on student progress in testing or other academic measurements.", yet only 31% of the students were able to pass the watered down AZMerit test in Math and only 37% of the students were able to pass the similar test in Language Arts (English).

It is hard to mesh these two facts. I want to stress that this is not an opinion, those are facts.

Hello, are these crickets I hear?

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