Proposed Bonus Pay Incentive Aims To Improve Huntsville’s Failing Schools

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Huntsville City School District is heading into the new school year with 9 schools identified as "failing" by the State Board of Education.

In an effort to further improve student performance, district leaders want to strike a deal with tenured teachers.

The proposed incentive would offer a bonus, of at least $2,500, to teachers who choose to give up their tenure and stay at or move to one of the so-called "failing" schools.

At an August 15th City School Board meeting, members raised their concerns about the proposal, questioning if teachers would feel pressured to exchange tenure for the bonus.

"This is strictly voluntary. We aren't asking anyone to give up anything they don't want to give up," said Keith Ward, a spokesman for the school district.

The proposed incentive is similar to what the district did when they moved from tenured principals to contract principals. It offers, in Superintendent Wardynski's words "workforce flexibility."

District leaders believe it will give them the opportunity to do what is best for their schools, their staff, and the city.

"It's another option we can offer our teachers," Wardynski said at the meeting. "When we're competing to keep our best teachers and get great new teachers it's something we can offer that most school systems in Alabama can't offer."

The proposal will be up for public discussion at the September 5th school board meeting. It may also come up for a vote that night. If passed, they have to submit the plan to the state for approval.