Senate approves teacher incentives

(February 5, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Teachers who work in school districts with large concentrations of poor children would receive incentive bonuses under a bill passed by the state Senate. The more than two million dollar program would be used to help attract and retain teachers in those districts. If it becomes law, bonuses would be paid beginning next school year to teachers who work in districts with fewer than one thousand students and with at least 80 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. A new teacher would receive a one-time signing bonus of four-thousand dollars, and three-thousand dollars at the beginning of the next two years if they stay in the district. Teachers already working in the district would receive a two-thousand dollar retention bonus each of the next two years if they remain. Teachers would have to repay some or all of the bonuses if they leave the district during or after the first or second year.