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No 'Good Job' Bonuses for CMS Teachers

Superintendent Peter Gorman called a press conference today to announce that almost 95 percent of CMS schools met or exceeded the state's expectations on year-end tests. He gave teachers all the credit . . . but they won't be getting much else. Ernestine Kinken and the other teachers at Thomasboro Elementary should each be getting a bonus this year as big as $1,500 from the state because their school had such high test scores. But they aren't. For the second year in a row, state lawmakers cut those bonuses to deal with budget shortfalls. "They want us to take the next step up and they keep pushing you and pushing you and they tell you they're gonna give you something and then they don't," says Kinken. "But it's not gonna keep me from doing what I need to do for my children." "It is a bummer," says Thomasboro Elementary principal Kathy Hammond. It's also a bummer trying to keep teachers like Kinken motivated when the state reneges on its promise of bonuses. "She is an outstanding teacher," says Hammond. "So I have to find ways to let her know how valuable she is to me to this school and to these children, knowing that down the road, she's gonna get that compensation when we move to performance based pay." CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman says it will take a few years to implement that system, which will pay teachers based on how well their students do, rather than the number of degrees and certificates they amass. But for now, he says the district doesn't have money to make up the bonuses teachers were promised by the state.