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Merit Pay for Mehlville Teachers—Agree or Disagree?

After an hour-long discussion Saturday, the Mehlville school board appointed two members to serve on a committee with teachers researching merit-based pay in the Mehlville School District.

Two board members—Elaine Powers and Mark Stoner—will serve on a committee with teacher representation to research and test merit-based pay in the Mehlville School District.

The decision came out of Saturday’s school board retreat after a discussion over who and how many board members would serve. In such a system, teachers would get pay raises based on student performance and evaluations, rather than experience. 

The board originally decided to have three members on the committee to pair with teacher representation from the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Powers and Stoner, along with Rich Franz and Larry Felton, all expressed interest in serving on the committee.

Board president Venki Palamand wanted to appoint Powers, Stoner and Franz because Felton’s seat is up for re-election in April 2013.

According to the agreement between the board and teachers’ union, a preliminary report is due by February of 2013, with a final report after a trial in March of 2014.

“Myself and Larry might be the most experienced in terms of service on the board, but in order to maintain the continuity, I think it was just best to have the people that I appointed,” he said.

“Venki, I hear what you’re saying, but if we use that kind of rationale, we’d never do anything,” Powers countered. “You pick your strongest team that you have around the table when you have that team.”

Stoner suggested taking an informal show of hands for each person interested. The top two would be appointed and then the board would revote for the third representative, much like the process to .

That didn’t happen because Fedorchak made a motion to appoint Stoner and Powers, which Stoner seconded. It passed unanimously.

The board then tried voting for the third member, either Franz or Felton, but couldn’t come to a consensus. Powers and Katy Eardley supported Felton, while Stoner and Palamand supported Franz. *Fedorchak voted no for both candidates. 

Powers and Stoner will be the only board representation on the committee.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the board and teachers’ union—the Mehlville National Education Association (MNEA)—stated the board had to select a co-facilitator and a minimum of two board members by Sept. 1.

Superintendent Eric Knost recommended Lisa Counts as the co-facilitator. Counts is an assistant superintendent and has served as a facilitator in the past. The board unanimously voted her in that position.

The board also selected Ron Fedorchak to a committee on reviewing district leave policy and Eardley to a committee on attracting new teachers.

Eardley suggested a calendar for all of the committee meetings and board members agreed to report back to the full board on progress throughout the year. 

*Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Fedorchak supported Franz. The mistake has been clarified to reflect accuracy. 

Ed Taylor September 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Merit pay -- a tough call, just having to define the parameters. Follow the discussions in Chicago right now! How is it done for other professions? Doctors based on patient health? Lawyers based on wins? Should my dentist be evaluated based on if I get a cavity or lose a tooth? I hope a lot of really good thought, and not knee-jerk politics, goes into this discussion!

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