Teacher Compensation: Standard Practices and Changes in Wisconsin

WCER Working Paper No. 2016-5

Steven M. Kimball, Herbert G. Heneman III, Robin Worth, Jessica Arrigoni, and Daniel Marlin


August 2016, 42 pp.

ABSTRACT: In the past several years, many Wisconsin school districts have initiated transformations to their teacher compensation systems. Although some state media coverage has focused on pay changes, there are few sources of information about the variety and scope of compensation revisions in Wisconsin. In this paper, the authors provide an overview of two standard compensation practices used nationally, summarize major types of initiatives being undertaken throughout the country, then report on findings from a study of teacher compensation changes in 25 Wisconsin districts. Examples of the changes include reductions in the number of steps and lanes in the single salary schedule, creation of new teacher leader roles and career ladders, and use of discretionary competitive pay to attract and retain teachers. The paper poses key questions districts should consider as they revise pay systems or reflect on pay changes.

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keywords: teacher compensation, teacher pay, pay for performance, career levels, career bands, salary schedules, district pay systems, performance evaluation