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story.lead_photo.caption In this file photo John Colbert (left), superintendent of Fayetteville Public Schools, talks as fellow panelist Anna Beaulieu, president of Fayetteville Education Association and a teacher at Fayetteville High School, listens during the Northwest Arkansas Education Town Hall at the Jones Center in Springdale. - Photo by Ben Goff

FAYETTEVILLE -- The School Board agreed Thursday to increase the stipend for National Board certified teachers from $2,500 to $3,000.

The stipend covers the five years for which certification lasts. Teachers may receive it again if they renew their certification.

Personnel move

The Fayetteville School Board on Thursday approved hiring Tammy Tucker as the next associate superintendent for administrative services, effective July 1. Tucker has served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Cabot School District since 2012. She will replace Larry Ben, who is retiring.

Source: Staff Report

Some Fayetteville teachers requested the School Board increase its stipend to $1,000 per year as long as a teacher remains certified. That proposal met some resistance from board members and administration because of the financial impact.

"I'm encouraged by the fact that we struck a middle ground on that," said board member Nika Waitsman.

Fayetteville has about 80 board certified teachers. Superintendent John L Colbert said district officials felt they needed to honor those teachers' commitment to their professional development.

"We felt that would be the best financial recommendation we could make at this time," Colbert said.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was established in 1987 to define and recognize accomplished teaching. The standards are created by teachers, for teachers. National Board certification is a voluntary process to certify teachers against those standards, according to the nonprofit organization's website.

The state also provides an annual stipend, though a recent change to the distribution formula -- intended to attract more highly trained teachers to high-poverty schools -- meant reduced stipends to most board-certified teachers in Fayetteville and similar districts.

The state used to pay board certified teachers $5,000 per year for up to 10 years. The state's new formula cuts that to $2,500 per year for up to five years for anyone who started the certification process after 2017. The stipend is higher for teachers in high-poverty schools, but Fayetteville has only one such school.

The result is fewer Fayetteville teachers are pursuing board certification, according to Meme Hagers, a music teacher at Vandergriff Elementary School who earned the certification in 2007.

Some other Northwest Arkansas school districts also provide National Board stipends. Bentonville gives an annual $3,000 stipend. Rogers pays $1,000 per year.

Colbert said that kind of competition worries him, but he believes Fayetteville offers other incentives to attract and retain teachers.

He noted the district is moving forward with a 1% raise for all teachers for the 2019-20 school year. Teachers will see a total of a 2% raise when the annual step increase in their salary schedule is considered.

The raise will increase Fayetteville's minimum teacher salary from $45,990 to $46,450, which will be second only to Springdale in Northwest Arkansas. It will cost the district $678,024.

NW News on 05/24/2019

Print Headline: Fayetteville approves new stipend for National Board teachers

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