Arlington School Board members, principals, teachers and parents agree that within the next five or 10 years good teachers are going to be hard to find, although they disagree on what steps should be taken and how much should be spent to find, recognize and reward those teachers.
Last night, a committee of teachers, parents and school administrators offered some ideas -- from small grants for special projects and a $25 discretionary fund for each teacher to spend on miscellaneous expenses to less restrictive personal leave policies.
"This looks like it really has potential for Arlington," board member Dorothy H. Stambaugh said of the committee's report.
The committee was assigned last year to design a "career ladder" plan -- a four-step system intended to "improve the instruction of students by providing an incentive . . . that identifies and recognizes excellence," according to a report the committee made in January.
Under that plan, teachers would advance from the entry level to "master teacher," a position with a $3,000 bonus and added functions of coaching other teachers, designing new projects and developing curriculum.
But the career ladder plan, estimated to cost $1.6 million over a seven-year period, was criticized vigorously by PTAs and community groups, who said it was unwieldy, too expensive and unfair. The School Board then told the committee to produce less expensive alternatives.
The committee returned last night with a list of such alternatives that it said could help solve the coming teacher shortage.
The committee urged that two incentives be added for the 1985-86 school year. It suggested giving each teacher $25 for miscellaneous classroom expenses, a move that would cost the school system $25,000. It also recommended a $50 "professional voucher" for each teacher to be used for membership in professional organizations and conference registration fees.