I have had this thought knocking around of how to look at a parcel tax—no more than five years, maybe three is better—strictly for rewarding excellence in teaching and school site administration. It’s difficult because I don’t think you’d want to tie it to test scores. A teacher can have an exceptional class one year and a less exceptional another year, but s/he is still a good teacher.
I’m skeptical enough that it would require having an oversight committee, but I don't think it should include district or union leadership (okay, maybe the head of human resources and the business person). It could be for annual one-time merit pay or for support of a school/classroom idea/enhancement. The idea would be to let great ideas have a chance to flow, to have teachers work together at a grade or department level, to have schools work together, to allow for innovation. Good old fashioned brainstorming or a way to foster excitement in the classroom—-for students and teachers.
The committee can be inclusive of parents, teachers, principals, and/or other experts from outside the PUSD community—-former superintendents or board members, retired teachers or principals—-I’m open.
The language to the community would be specific enough: To establish a committee for the review of meritorious awards to teachers and principals for excellence in the classroom and/or to support innovative programs at the site level. (Needs work, thinking on my fingers here.) It cannot be used to supplant general fund programs (i.e., it cannot pay for K-3 CSR costs not covered by the state; $2 million).
My idea, in a nutshell, is to find a way to reward those going above and beyond in closest proximity to students and to give teachers and principals support from the community that will inspire them and, in turn, our children.
There are a lot of leaders in this community who certainly could have other, better ideas. I thought maybe a forum for what a parcel tax COULD do might make for a good discussion.