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Gainesville may ask teachers' opinions on strategic compensation
Plan would pay more for taking on additional responsibilities
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Teachers in Gainesville may have the opportunity to weigh in on how they’re compensated for leading extracurricular activities.

Merrianne Dyer, Gainesville City Schools superintendent, presented the topic of strategic compensation to the Gainesville City Schools Board of Education for discussion at its meeting Monday night.

Gainesville City Schools currently has a local supplement based on a percentage of the base teacher salary, which is set by the Georgia legislature every year. Teacher salary is determined by education level and years of experience.

Under strategic compensation, the local supplement could be separated from the state salary base pay.

Dyer said many of the strategic compensation models used in the country today are performance-based. She said the system, however, is not considering a model based on how well students score on state tests.

“Instead we’re looking at strategically compensating for additional duties, responsibilities and work hours,” Dyer said. “We believe this will result in better student scores.”

Teachers could be awarded a fixed supplement for taking on additional roles outside of the classroom like sponsoring a club.

The board will discuss the possibility of conducting a long-term study at its midyear planning retreat Thursday.

An open meeting will follow the retreat at 1 p.m. at Centennial Arts Academy.

Dyer said she felt taking a year to study the compensation model would provide enough time to understand if it would work for the system. A study group would likely consist of a few teachers from each school to provide their insights on the subject.

“We have to be very careful and we have to look at all the foreseeable problems,” Delores Diaz, board member, said. “The way to test any idea is to find out why it won’t work, to look for the loopholes.”

Several board members suggested speaking with teachers directly about the study.

“Since it’s about them, let’s give them as much input as possible,” board member David Syfan said.

The board also approved the system’s participating in a tax allocation district with Lakeshore Mall.

Tax allocation districts are a way to fund redevelopment of areas that are suffering from urban blight, economic or physical decline and deteriorated infrastructure. Gainesville currently has one TAD for the Midtown district.

The approval was based on the conditions that the Garrison Investment Group, the owner of the mall, participate in Partners for Education, provide opportunities to students with after-school and weekend jobs and the occasional use of the mall’s parking lot for large events at Gainesville High School. Syfan also requested a five-year opt-out be included in the agreement.