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Legislators Decide That Effective Teachers At High-Poverty Utah Schools Deserve A Bonus

Lee Hale

The state legislature has voted to reward some teachers at high-poverty schools with $5,000 salary bonuses.

These are teachers who have been identified as effective based on the measured academic growth of the students. And they are willing to teach at schools where at least 20 percent of the students come from intergenerational poverty or 70 percent qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Senator Lyle Hillyard, says these are the kinds of schools that see the highest rates of teacher turnover.

“A lot of these great teachers are already teaching in these schools, but are leaving," says Hillyard.

The bill works with school districts to provide matching funds--resulting in a $5,000 bonus. Which Hillyard called, “a good beginning.”

Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Democratic Senator Jim Dabakis said the evidence of teacher turnover is found all over Utah.

"If this is the beginning of a march to keeping these heroes that keep the school system going it deserves a great award," said Dabakis. 

The bill has passed both the House and the Senate and now heads to the Governor for approval. 

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