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Published: Tuesday, 9/9/2008

Toledo Public Schools teachers, staff earn bonus checks

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Public Schools gave a $1 million pat on the back yesterday to its hardworking teachers and staff.

Through the Teacher Incentive Fund, bonus checks were handed out to the staff of 23 schools that achieved at least two of the district's three goals for the 2007-08 school year. It meant incentive payments of $1,000 or $2,000 to 792 teachers, principals, and paraprofessionals.

"It's a great way for schools to celebrate their progress," Superintendent John Foley said.

The goals the district set for last school year include increasing the school's overall performance index score on the state report cards, increasing or maintaining a high student attendance rate, and increasing or maintaining a high math performance.

Eight schools achieved all three goals, for which the staff got $2,000 bonuses, and 15 schools made two of the three goals, earning the staff $1,000 incentive checks. The incentive payments totaled just over

$1 million, Mr. Foley said.

TPS is one of four districts in the state given the Teacher Incentive Fund grants in November, 2006, to recognize staff. Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus are the other districts which received the grants.

This is the second year of the five-year grant and Toledo is the only district that developed its incentive plan to encourage every school in the district to participate in the grant program, Mr. Foley said.

For the 2006-07 pilot year of the program at TPS, four schools earned Teacher Incentive Fund awards.

Toledo Federation of Teachers President Francine Lawrence said the small financial award is recognition for school personnel who don't always receive the recognition that's merited.

"Teamwork works," she said.

Toledo Board of Education member Lisa Sobecki said the staff is energized by the recognition.

"Just looking at their facial expressions and the morale boost is great because, well, we often beat them up, which might be our job as board members to keep everything in line," she said.



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