HAMPDEN, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Teachers in RSU 22 could now see extra money in their paycheck if they go above and beyond. The school board and teachers union recently agreed to a performance-based pay to act as a supplement to their income.
Superintendent Rick Lyons with RSU 22 said, "We hope this gives a sense of appreciation for what a teacher does individually."
The merit based supplemental income will coincide with the current built-in pay scale where teachers earn more with experience.
According to Lyons, the plan has been in the works for more than a decade.
"We strongly believe that the essence of individuality is key and the annual evaluations and the opportunity to receive the merit compensation does just that," explained Lyons.
There will be four tiers of merit pay teachers could earn ranging from $400-$1,000. The teachers will be evaluated by their school's principal.
The system which was used in the past is now different causing frustration and confusion among teachers who do not understand the new criteria.
Co-President of TRI-22 teachers union, Michele Metzler, said, "It's really just beginning to be understood by both the administration and teachers right now."
Metzler explained the new evaluation method is much more specific than the previous one. The confusion is leaving teachers wondering what needs to be met.
Metzler worries it could hinder teaching in the classroom, "Teachers will be afraid to try new things and innovative things for fear of failing and that failure would reflect poorly on their pay."
The administration, however, said this new method will focus on the teaching and learning in classrooms and be a positive impact for both students and teachers.
The next hurdle is how the school board can afford the merit-based pay within the school budget. According to Lyons, the school budget will include an estimate of how much they expect to spend on merit-based pay.
The superintendent added, however, there is no cap on how many teachers can be rewarded the extra pay. When the deal was made with the teachers union there was a rough estimate of how much would be held for merit-based supplement.