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With less than a month left in the legislative session this year, Rep. Greg Snowden (R) of Meridian said on Monday that committee members representing both legislative chambers will hammer out details on a teacher pay raise. Both chambers have passed teacher pay raise proposals, Snowden told members of the Council of Governments, but the proposals differ and need further discussion.

“The house version has more money in it than the senate does,” Snowden said. “The senate version has the raises come quicker than the house version.”

Snowden said one of the issues he has more questions about is the senate’s proposed merit pay raise for teachers.

“It would appear to reward teachers in A and B districts which is fine; but perhaps it would penalize other teachers,” Snowden said. “That’s not clear yet. That’s one of the reasons we need to go to a conference committee to discuss that. I am optimistic we will come forward with a teacher pay plan.”

A copy of the senate’s legislation, calls it the “School Recognition Program,” which would be created to provide financial awards to public schools, paying an extra $100 per student in an A-rated school. The dollar amount drops to$75 per student in a B-rated district.

“We just need to make sure that that’s equitable and if that’s a way of actually incentivizing higher performance. That’s the whole idea,” Snowden said.

Snowden said the House is dropping a portion of its legislation — benchmarks.

“The original house plan included some professional benchmarks that teachers would have to meet in order to obtain the raises. The only reason, as the speaker made clear at the time, those were included in the house bill, was to make sure that we got the senate to agree to discuss with us the topic of teacher pay raises,” Snowden said. “At the time, the lieutenant governor and the leaders in the senate had indicated they were really opposed to across the board raises. We put that on the table so they would talk about it. They have come back and in their plan, they have across the board raises. The speaker’s already said the benchmarks are gone. That was only a way to get the senate and house talking about a pay raise.”

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http://m.meridianstar.com/TMS/db_265832/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=sCnUMA4H

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