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Some Magic Valley Teachers Won’t Get Merit Pay This Year

Although the state says it’s not real widespread…Some south-central Idaho schools that received high marks under the state’s new five-star ranking system, didn’t qualify for merit pay. Melissa McGrath with for the Idaho State Department of Education tells the Times News that  there are some cases statewide, but it’s not a widespread occurrence. McGrath says State education officials tried to communicate upfront with school principals that pay-for-performance and the star ratings are “two separate systems.  But before voters overturned the Students Come First laws last month, state officials were looking at making changes. McGrath said they talked with school districts about aligning the two systems in the future. The five-star rating system is the new way Idaho schools will be judged, instead of through the federal No Child Left Behind Act.  McGrath used the example of  Canyon Ridge High School, which received a four-star rating which is about average.  But she said the school excelled in other areas such as graduation rate and students taking advantage of advanced opportunities. Those things are not measured on pay-for-performance.  The state’s pay-for-performance plan was based on student achievement and growth on the Idaho Standards Achievement Tests.  Educators at four Twin Falls School District schools didn’t receive merit pay: Canyon Ridge High, Lincoln Elementary School, Magic Valley High School and Bridge Academy.  In the Filer School District, Filer High School and Hollister Elementary School didn’t qualify for merit pay. Hollister Elementary is ranked as a four-star school.  School districts and public charter schools have only through Saturday to distribute merit pay to educators who earned it.  The Times News article says about eight of 10 Idaho educators qualified to receive pay-for-performance money.

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