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Strategic Steps to a Merit System. Reynoldsburg City School District. About Us. A first-ring suburb of Columbus, Reynoldsburg’s demographics are reflective of the state and the nation. Reynoldsburg has …. 34,000 residents 6,000 students 700 staff Median income: $34,000

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Strategic steps to a merit system

Strategic Steps to a Merit System

Reynoldsburg City School District

About us
About Us

A first-ring suburb of Columbus, Reynoldsburg’s demographics are reflective of the state and the nation.

Reynoldsburg has
Reynoldsburg has …

  • 34,000 residents

  • 6,000 students

  • 700 staff

  • Median income: $34,000

  • Average teacher salary: $62,000


A theory of improvement

  • Does merit pay affect behavior?

    Public perception

  • In this economic climate, must any raise be tied to performance and results?

Data driven
Data Driven

Successful organizations know how their employees impact their results.

Value added with battelle for kids
Value-Added with Battelle for Kids

  • Project SOAR began to demonstrate how student progress information can be used as a diagnostic tool for educational improvement in grades 3-8.

  • T-CAP (Teachers Connecting Achievement and Progress) provides individual teachers with reliable information about the progress made by the students they teach.

  • Ohio Value-Added High Schools initiative uses ACT-aligned, end-of-course exams to provide classroom-level progress data in grades 9-12.

Effective evaluations
Effective Evaluations

Successful organizations improve outcomes by providing timely, accurate and constructive guidance to employees.

Evaluating results
Evaluating results

Establishing a fair evaluation process remains a critical challenge in developing a merit system

  • Ohio’s principal evaluation pilot (2008-2010)

  • Ohio’s teacher evaluation pilot (ongoing)

    Race to the Top work supports ongoing discussions, tool development and trials.

Fair contracts
Fair Contracts

Successful organizations are able to attract/retain talented employees within sustainable budgets.

Student improvement incentive award
Student Improvement Incentive Award

If student performance in a classroom is significantly higher than expectations, the Superintendent, with Board approval, shall have the unilateral authority to grant an award of up to Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) per applicant. Prior to receiving a Student Improvement Incentive Award, the following procedure shall apply:

  • Teachers must apply in writing, must document increased student performance, and must include their Principal’s written endorsement with the application; or

  • Teachers can be nominated by any District employee by completing a form provided by the Board.

Award process
Award Process

Applications were evaluated by a committee of outside experts, including representatives of:

  • Columbus State Community College

  • Ohio State University

  • School Support Council of Ohio

  • Local business/government

    The committee reviewed applications and recommended award amounts. Process was developed over two years.

Building buy in
Building buy-in


Four teachers received $2,000 each


18 teachers received a total of $29,500

7 applications denied


15 teachers received a total of $21,000

8 applications denied


None awarded due to budget cuts

Administration leading
Administration leading

  • Superintendent became first in the district with real merit pay in contract

  • Assistant superintendent immediately followed

  • District administrators/principals merit system coming next year, tied to new evaluation tool

Superintendent s contract
Superintendent’s contract

"It's kind of unlikely he's going to achieve all four. But we want him to reach high. We want him to shoot for the stars.“

Mary Burcham,

Board President

Beginning in the 2011-2012 school year and thereafter, the Board shall pay a performance incentive between 0% and 5% of the annual base salary for each goal/objective met with a maximum of four goals/objectives, which shall be cumulative. Each goal/objective will be tiered with a prescribed measure(s) to determine the percentage of performance incentive met. This amount is in addition to the salary provided in paragraph 4 above. It is the intent of the parties that the goals/objectives will be defined collaboratively and will be outcome based. The Board will be the sole judge of whether the Superintendent met or exceeded the goals/objectives. Goals/Objectives will be agreed upon by July 31 of the contract year immediately preceding the year for which the goals/objectives are applicable. The determination of whether the goals/objectives have been met or exceeded will be made by the Board on or before June 30 of each contract year and the performance incentive will be paid in the second pay in July following that determination.

Public reaction from the blogosphere
Public reaction (from the blogosphere)



  • Merit pay for management is a joke. Do you ever think you'll ever see a superintendent who doesn't 'earn' his/her merit pay?(Are you kidding...?) In fact, the Reynoldsburg School Board just gave Mr. Dackin a 24K pay raise.

  • "Merit pay" is a great idea as long as there's a fair and objective way of determining merit and quality of work. I'm also impressed that he and others have taken cuts and turned down previous bonuses. That's a sign that they're aware of the economic environment and not just out for themselves.


Public perception of salaries

Contrast to automatic step increases

Role of inflation, cost-of-living

Data as formative or summative

Fair evaluations – objective v. subjective

Building buy-in

Merit pay is an integral piece of the broader systems of recruitment/ retention, rewards/sanctions, and public financial accountability.