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March 1, 2011

Agreement on Teacher Performance Pay Based in Part on Student Achievement Gains Reached in Lucia Mar Unified School District

In the first agreement of its kind in California, the Lucia Mar Unified School District (San Luis Obispo County) and the Lucia Mar Unified Teachers’ Association, CTA/ NEA have agreed to implement a comprehensive new evaluation system for teachers in which student achievement gains are one element used to determine yearend compensation bonuses for high-performing teachers. Todd A. Goluba of the Pleasanton Office of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo served as Chief Labor Negotiator for the District in these negotiations.

The Obama Administration is committing significant federal funds to school districts that implement this type of educational reform. As the President remarked in his State of the Union Speech on January 25, 2011, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.” In September 2010, the Lucia Mar Unified School District received a $7.2 million federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) Grant to fund over a five-year period of implementation of the System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP) at six of the District’s highneeds schools.

The Tentative Agreement was ratified by the Teachers’ Association on January 25, 2011. On February 25, 2011, the final hurdle to implementation was cleared when certificated employees at seven of the eight eligible school sites voted overwhelming in favor of participating in TAP. Since only six schools could be funded through the TIF grant, the District will have maximum participation.

The Agreement includes the following elements:

  1. An alternate evaluation process based on a rubric developed by TAP, which includes mandatory annual evaluations with at least four observations per year conducted by a team comprised of an Administrator, Master Teacher and two Mentor Teachers. The evaluation process is in addition to, not in lieu of, the Stull Bill evaluation process.
  2. Performance-based compensation bonuses for teachers. The amount of the bonus is determined by a combination of the teacher’s evaluation score, classroom achievement gains on the California Standards Test (CST), and school-wide achievement gains. The measurement of student achievement gains is sometimes called the “value-added model."
  3. New career pathways for teachers to move into Master and Mentor teacher positions with an expanded work year and increased compensation without becoming administrators
  4. Teachers get 60 pupil-free minutes per week to participate in Cluster Group meetings with a Master Teacher
  5. Teachers who voluntarily 5. transfer to a participating school get a $3,000 recruitment incentive bonus and teachers who stay at a participating school get a $1,000 retention bonus. Transfer rules
    are modified to allow teachers who do not want to participate in the program priority to transfer to other schools

In a recent speech, President Obama indicated his support for the TAP program:

“America’s future depends on its teachers. And so today, I’m calling on a new generation of Americans to step forward and serve our country in our classrooms. If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation, if you want to make the most of your talents and dedication, if you want to make your mark with a legacy that will endure – then join the teaching profession. And if you do your part, then we’ll do ours ...

It’s why we’re building on the promising work being done in places like South Carolina’s Teacher Advancement Program, and making an unprecedented commitment to ensure that anyone entrusted with educating our children is doing the job as well as it can be done. Now, here’s what that commitment means: It means treating teachers like the professionals they are while also holding them more accountable – in up to 150 more school districts. New teachers will be mentored by experienced ones. Good teachers will be rewarded with more money for improved student achievement, and asked to accept more responsibilities for lifting up their schools. Teachers throughout a school will benefit from guidance and support to help them improve.” (Emphasis added.)

Should you have any questions or need assistance planning a strategy to bring similar reforms to your district, please feel free to contact any of the attorneys listed above.

More information on TAP is located at For more information on Lucia Mar USD’s experience, contact Ryan Foran, Communication Specialist at Superintendent Jim Hogeboom can be reached at



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