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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • State program could mean additional funding for local school district

  • According to Rick Ellingworth. Redwood Area School District superintendent, the focus of the Q-Comp program is to move past the traditional salary schedule concept in schools that pays teachers a higher rate from one year to the next just for showing up the next year and that provides opportunities for educators to take on more leadership roles within their district.
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  • In July 2005, the State of Minnesota officially put into place a program known as Q-Comp. The voluntary program offered through the Minnesota Department of Education provides school districts who apply and are approved an opportunity to operate under different concepts focusing on staff development, performance pay and educator evaluation. More than 120 school districts and charter schools have implemented Q-Comp, and the Redwood Area School District is hoping to be the next.
    An application to get involved with the Q-Comp program was submitted to the education department earlier this week after the Redwood Area Board of Education officially endorsed the application during its meeting Monday night.
    According to Rick Ellingworth. Redwood Area School District superintendent, the focus of the Q-Comp program is to move past the traditional salary schedule concept in schools that pays teachers a higher rate from one year to the next just for showing up the next year and that provides opportunities for educators to take on more leadership roles within their district.
    Getting the application in as soon as possible was important to guarantee the funding, Ellingworth ex-plained, as there are only a certain number of dollars available. With larger districts, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, also considering applications, getting the application in at the right time could mean the difference between getting funded and being left out.
    Darcy Josephson, RASD director of teaching and learning, explained there are some major elements to the Q-Comp plan the district submitted, in-cluding the development of professional learning communities amongst the staff fo-cusing on literacy, the creation of an evaluation system that has administrators and peer evaluators in the classroom with each teacher and performance pay.
    The district has the potential to get $169 per student in state funding, and based on current enrollment that would mean approximately $177,000 for the school district.
    Of that amount, the district anticipates spending up to $100,000 in performance pay to the staff, with the added dollars spent on those teachers who take on leadership roles as part of the evaluation concept or as leaders for the learning community groups.
    Other funding would be spent on administrative demands on the business office.
    With the demand for a high number of peer evaluators to ensure the staff get the required evaluations they need each year.
    Ellingworth stressed the fact that the program would be set up so the teachers would fill their role as educators first with the evaluation part done during prep hours when they could be fit in.
    “Part of the purpose is to give more teachers the chance to be educational leaders without having to leave the classroom,” added Josephson.
    An advisory committee would be responsible for the overall Q-Comp program.
    The evaluation of the application is not scheduled to start until mid-November with the district then working with staff on suggested changes.
    Page 2 of 2 - An aspect of the requirements to do this program is to have the support of educators, and the initial application had a 92 percent approval rating from the staff. If the district was selected, the final plan would again have to be approved by the staff and the school board.
    In other action during its meeting, the local school board:
    • Approved the addition of a security system at the Ehlers Intergenerational Family Center at a cost of approximately $8,500.
    • Discussed the future of the school resource officer program between the school and the City of Redwood Falls. The school’s funding source is running low, and the hope is to find a way to fund the program in a different way.
    A letter is being sent to the city to discuss the potential of different funding for the program. Ellingworth said he is hoping not to use general fund dollars to cover the cost.
    • Approved the employment of Andy Ourada as a middle school football coach with a stipend of $1,616; Aaron Lindahl as a varsity assistant football coach with a stipend of $2,416; Amber Green as senior class advisor with a stipend of $372 and Andrea Spanovich as junior class advisor with a stipend of $616.
    • Approved an employment agreement with the paraprofessional staff that includes a 35 cent per hour increase for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
    • Set the substitute teacher compensation rate at $108 per day.

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