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Senate approves $5,000 bonuses for teachers at high-poverty schools

First Published      Last Updated Mar 08 2017 05:10 pm

Public schools » Pilot program would reward top-performing teachers in the 100 most high-poverty schools $5.000.

Both the House and Senate have approved a bill that would give a $5,000 bonus to top-performing teachers who work in high-poverty schools.

Senators voted 25-0 on Tuesday for HB212, but amendments require an additional vote in the House, which voted 51-23 in favor of the bill last month.

Under HB212, roughly 100 high-performing Utah teachers — identified through a test score metric called median growth percentile, or MGP — would be eligible for an annual bonus when they remain at or move to one of the 100 most economically impacted schools in the state.

The bill is a pilot program aimed at mitigating teacher turnover in the state, which is typically more severe at high-poverty campuses.

"Hopefully we can bring the very best teachers into these most challenging circumstances of teaching," said Senate sponsor Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, "and touch these children who are so important to us as a state."

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, praised the bill as a potential first step toward solving Utah's teacher shortage. He said lawmakers need to take action to keep "these heroes that keep the school system going."

"I think this has the potential to be breakthrough legislation," Dabakis said.


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