Anoka-Hennepin teachers approve Q-Comp plan

Anoka-Hennepin will begin participating in the state’s Quality Performance Plan, known as Q-Comp, beginning with the 2013-14 school year following a positive vote by teachers May 31. Unofficial results show the plan was approved by 89 percent of the vote.

Designed to ensure students get the best possible education, Anoka-Hennepin’s Q-Comp plan provides for systematic teacher evaluation that connects teacher compensation to student performance.

"I am very pleased that teachers approved the plan. It was a collaborative effort between the district and the teachers and I believe it will have a positive impact on the district," said Superintendent Dennis Carlson.

Board Chair Tom Heidemann is also pleased with the outcome of the teachers’ vote. "We are excited to be in a position to work together with the teachers on performance pay in Anoka-Hennepin," he said.

Anoka Hennepin’s "Q-Comp" plan provides financial incentives for teachers to improve their skills. It establishes greater accountability through consistent evaluations. Under the plan, nearly 90 percent of district teachers will be evaluated every year. In a typical year now, teachers are evaluated on a five-year cycle with approximately one-fifth of teachers evaluated each year. The district’s evaluation cycle will continue in addition to Q-Comp.

The program will also foster teachers’ use of research-based best practices through job-embedded professional development.

In addition, the plan rewards teachers for meeting school and classroom level achievement goals and reinforces student achievement through pay-for-performance.

The plan will fulfill most of the requirements of the new teacher evaluation law, but unlike the evaluation law, the Q-Comp program includes additional resources.

"We were really faced with a simple choice," said President Julie Blaha of Anoka-Hennepin Education Minnesota. "We could put in a Q-Comp system with additional resources, or we could take money from classrooms to pay for the unfunded mandates of the evaluation law."

Teachers voted down a similar proposal in 2011 when voters supporting the plan didn’t reach the 75 percent threshold the union required for passage. The new vote was prompted by the passage last year of the new teacher evaluation law, which requires annual evaluations, among other things. The law did not include new funding for its mandates.

The cost of the program will be about $10 million, with about $7 million coming from the state. The remainder will be folded into the district’s annual tax levy. The district will reduce some other portions of the total levy to avoid increasing taxes.