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Bonuses Coming To High Schools Who Improve Graduation Rates

Last updated on Tuesday, May 19, 2009

(UNDATED) - The state is dangling cash bonuses for the high schools which show the most improvement next year in their graduation rate.

The 10 public high schools which improve their graduation rate the most will receive 20-thousand-dollar prizes, with the principal and superintendent deciding how to split it up.

The only limit is that the principal can keep no more than five thousand for himself.

State School Superintendent Tony Bennett says he hopes winning schools will award the money to staffers who have done the most to bring about the improvement, rather than dividing it evenly among all teachers.

Bennett says he believes the extra incentive can spur double-digit improvements.

There will be two additional 10 thousand dollar prizes for the best improvement among the 24 schools with fewer than 300 students.

The 220 thousand dollars to fund the bonuses will come out of efficiency savings within the Department of Education.

Teachers' unions in Indiana and elsewhere have long resisted attempts to award performance bonuses, arguing it's too difficult to measure performance fairly and that merit pay would undermine collective-bargaining agreements.

Bennett notes the state is not a party to teacher contracts, and contends graduation rates should be one measurement everyone can agree is important.

Last year's graduation rate statewide was 78-percent.

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