Arkansas Code Title 6. Education § 6-17-811. Incentives for teacher recruitment and retention in high-priority districts
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(a) As used in this section:
(1) “High-priority district” means a public school district:
(A) In which eighty percent (80%) or more of public school students are national school lunch students; and
(B)(i) Except as provided by subdivision (a)(1)(B)(ii) of this section, that had a three-quarter average daily membership in the previous year of one thousand (1,000) or fewer students.
(ii) In order to further the state's policy of encouraging efficiency and the expansion of available course offerings that might be achieved through the voluntary consolidation or annexation of school districts, qualifying teachers in the resulting school district in an approved voluntary consolidation under § 6-13-1404(a)(2) or § 6-13-1603(a) or in a receiving district in an approved voluntary annexation under § 6-13-1403(a)(2)-(4) or § 6-13-1603(a) shall continue to receive the funding provided under this section if all school districts in the voluntary consolidation or annexation were high-priority districts in the immediately preceding school year, even if the average daily membership of the resulting or receiving school district is one thousand (1,000) or above.
(iii) By April 15 of each year, the State Board of Education shall determine the districts that qualify as high-priority districts of the state;
(2)(A) “National school lunch students” means those students or the percentage of enrolled students from low socioeconomic backgrounds as indicated by eligibility for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act as determined on October 1 of each previous school year and submitted to the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, unless the school district is identified by the division as participating in the special assistance certification and reimbursement alternative implemented under 42 U.S.C. § 1759a, as interpreted in 7 C.F.R. § 245.9.
(B) If the school district is participating under 42 U.S.C. § 1759a, then for purposes of this section the school district's annual percentage of national school lunch students is equal to the percentage submitted in the base year, which means the last school year for which eligibility determinations were made and meal counts were taken by type;
(3)(A) “New teacher bonus” means an incentive bonus provided under subdivisions (b)(1)-(3) of this section to a teacher who is within the first three (3) years of employment with a single high-priority district.
(B) A teacher is not entitled to receive a new teacher bonus from any high-priority district other than the high-priority district that first employed the teacher and paid the teacher a new teacher bonus;
(4) “Previous year” means the school year immediately preceding the present school year;
(5) “Retention bonus” means an incentive bonus provided under subdivision (b)(4) or subdivision (b)(5) of this section; and
(6)(A) “Teacher” means a licensed classroom teacher who spends seventy percent (70%) of his or her time working directly with students in a classroom setting teaching all grade-level or subject-matter appropriate classes.
(B) “Teacher” includes a guidance counselor or librarian.
(b) At the end of the school year and upon completion of a licensed teacher's contracted teaching obligations, a teacher who completes the entire current school year teaching in a high-priority district may be entitled to receive in addition to all other contracted salary and benefits:
(1) For a newly hired teacher who has not previously taught in a high-priority district, a one-time signing bonus of five thousand dollars ($5,000) for the first year of service in the high-priority district, to be paid upon completion of the full year of teaching;
(2) For a newly hired teacher who meets the requirements of subdivision (b)(1) of this section, who continues to teach in the same high-priority district, and who completes the second full year of contracted teaching obligations, a new teacher bonus of four thousand dollars ($4,000) in addition to all other contracted salary and benefits;
(3) For a teacher who meets the requirements of subdivisions (b)(1) and (2) of this section, who continues to teach in the same high-priority district, and who completes a third year of contracted teaching obligations, a new teacher bonus of four thousand dollars ($4,000) in addition to all other contracted salary and benefits;
(4) For a teacher who meets the requirements of subdivisions (b)(1)-(3) of this section, who enters his or her fourth or subsequent year of service with the same high-priority district or begins employment with a high-priority district other than the high-priority district where he or she was employed at the time he or she received a new teacher bonus under subdivisions (b)(1)-(3) of this section, a retention bonus of three thousand dollars ($3,000) for the fourth and each subsequent complete year of service in the high-priority district, to be paid at the end of the school year after completing all contractual obligations; and
(5) For a teacher employed in a high-priority district who does not meet the requirements of subdivisions (b)(1)-(3) of this section, a retention bonus of three thousand dollars ($3,000) for each complete year of service in the high-priority district, to be paid at the end of the school year after completing all contractual obligations.
(c)(1) A teacher shall not be entitled to a bonus provided under this section unless the teacher has fulfilled his or her contractual obligations for the current school year.
(2) The superintendent of the high-priority district where the teacher is employed shall certify in writing to the division that the teacher has completed all contractual obligations for the school year.
(d) The division shall:
(1) Monitor the implementation of the incentive program established by this section;
(2) Collect data to be used to evaluate the incentive program's effectiveness; and
(3) Promulgate any necessary rules to administer the requirements of this teacher recruitment and retention program.
(e)(1) The bonus amounts provided under this section are the maximum amounts to be paid to qualifying teachers in high-priority districts and are subject to the appropriation and availability of funding for the payment of the bonuses.
(2) If the funds appropriated and available for the payment of the bonuses under this section are insufficient to pay the maximum bonus amounts to each qualifying teacher, the division shall distribute the available funding to qualified teachers on a pro rata basis.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Arkansas Code Title 6. Education § 6-17-811. Incentives for teacher recruitment and retention in high-priority districts - last updated January 01, 2020 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ar/title-6-education/ar-code-sect-6-17-811.html
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