The four teacher representatives on the Fairfax County merit pay appeals board were elected by all county teachers, not just by members of the Fairfax Education Association as was stated in an article yesterday. (Published 7/25/87)
Fairfax County School Superintendent Robert R. Spillane took another step yesterday toward installing his ambitious merit pay plan in the area's largest school system by naming three local educators to the review board that will hear appeals from teachers denied merit raises.
His appointees -- one of them Judith Garcia, a high school foreign language teacher who was a runner-up in the national teacher-in-space program -- complete the seven-member Career Advancement Review Board. The Fairfax Education Association, the county's major teacher union, named its four representatives last month.
FEA officials praised Spillane's appointments, but criticized him for waiting three weeks past his self-imposed July 1 deadline to make them. "This is a very important process," said FEA President Mimi Dash. "We don't know what to tell folks" who are waiting to appeal decisions.
One veteran county teacher who is hoping to appeal his job rating said he is itching to tell his side of the story, but "I'm simply out of luck" because the career board has not met yet. "The appeals process is too slow," said the teacher, who asked not to be identified.
The merit pay plan hammered out by Spillane and the FEA will give teachers a total average raise of nearly 30 percent by the 1989-90 school year. In return teachers agreed to tougher on-the-job evaluations that will eventually determine their future pay raises. The plan, the area's first pay-for-performance effort, will cost $110 million by 1989-90. County teachers now earn and average of $31,000 a year.
The on-the-job evaluation system that is the basis for merit pay was tried in eight county schools last school year, with no money attached. Teachers who applied for the merit bonuses and were denied them are entitled to appeal to the new review board, although the actual bonuses will not begin until the 1989-90 school year. Of 209 teachers who applied for the bonuses, 138 were awarded them, a figure some criticized as too high.
The evaluation system will be expanded to all county schools and 40 percent of teachers in the coming year.
Spillane brushed off criticism of the lateness of his appointments, saying, "Anyone complaining of delay is irrelevant. We want to do this carefully. We want this to work."
The superintendent said he hoped the board could hold its first meeting "within the next couple of weeks," although Dash said it could take some time to establish procedures that the panel needs before it can hear appeals.
Garcia, a foreign language teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, is on leave to work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Her contract with NASA expires this summer but she continues to be a backup candidate for the space shuttle.
Spillane also named George Felton, a longtime school system employe who retired in 1984 as principal of South Lakes High School in Reston, and Elliot Krash, a former elementary school principal who now directs special programs such as Head Start and compensatory education for the county. Both Felton and Krash are former teachers, according to school system spokesman Dolores Bohen.
The FEA's four appointees to the board were Dash; FEA 1986 contract bargainer Gloria Johnson, a Robinson Secondary School teacher; South Lakes High School teacher Betty Costello, an FEA board member and a consulting teacher to the school system on its merit pay plan, and Glenn Bowman, a Madison High School teacher who represents the local union on the state union board. All were elected by FEA members.
The extent of Spillane's hopes that the merit pay plan will put Fairfax County on the national map were exemplified in one of his choices to join the appeals board: Former U.S. chief justice Warren E. Burger. Burger turned him down.