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Chicago Tribune: City Colleges Rolls Out Bonuses for Adult Educators

9/21/2013 12:00 AM

​Teachers in City Colleges of Chicago's adult education program this week received their first bonus checks based on performance, not seniority.

In a contract negotiated in April 2012, City Colleges and the union representing the adult educators agreed to give up retention pay, a bonus based on years of service. Instead, adult educators — who teach courses for high school equivalency, English as a second language and adult basic education programs — can earn bonuses for hitting student achievement and enrollment targets. 

A five-year contract between City Colleges and the full-time faculty union signed in September 2012 includes similar performance pay measures. 

The bonus was good news for Andrew Oloffson, who has been teaching adult reading, math and college readiness classes at Truman College for about a year and a half and would have been among the nearly 30 percent of teachers who didn't qualify for a tenure-based bonus in the 2012 fiscal year.

This year, all 476 adult educators earned bonuses because performance pay is tied to overall targets rather than individual achievement. Bonus amounts depend on the number of hours taught but averaged $440. In total, teachers received $200,000 out of a possible $250,000, up to nearly 2 percent of their salaries. 

"Any incentive to work harder is beneficial. Now we know there are benchmarks and have to strive to do better," Oloffson said.

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