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KCMSD Awarded 13.6 Million for Teacher Merit Pay

Superintendent John Covington announces the federal grant. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

By Sylvia Maria Gross


Kansas City, MO – The United States Department of Education awarded the Kansas City Missouri School District $13.6 million for a new merit pay program for teachers. Officials say the district's proposal was one of the top five in the country.

Beginning next school year, teachers could receive up to 10,000 dollars above their regular salaries if their students, or entire schools, make academic gains. School board president Airick Leonard West said the proposal was a collaboration between the administration and the teacher's union.

"There is nothing that we as a school district have more direct control over, than ensuring that we have highly effective staff in every single classroom and every single school building," West said.

Recent research questions the effectiveness of merit pay programs at raising student scores. But teacher's union president Andrea Flinders said these incentives will be for more than test scores, and will include school performance, teamwork and professional development.

"This is not your traditional idea of what a merit plan is," Flinders said.

The only other local institution to win these teacher incentive funds was a charter school, Hogan Preparatory Academy.

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