Does a teacher who works at a high-poverty Wake school deserve more pay than one who works at a more affluent school, such as one in Morrisville?
That's the point argued by school board member Lori Millberg at Tuesday's discussion about whether to apply for a federal grant to offer merit pay at high-poverty schools.
Millberg's point drew some heated responses.
Here's some background.
Staff asked the board to consider what reason would they have to offer merit pay.
Millberg said the reason would clearly be to improve student achievement. She also took on the concerns raised by staff that offering merit pay would lead to fairness and equity issues.
If a teacher was upset about not getting merit pay, Millberg said that the person could choose to work at a high-poverty school that is offering it. She said she didn't consider it to be a negative that only some schools would offer merit pay.
She said that, right now, there are teachers in classrooms which are 65 to 70 percent poor who feel they have a "harder" job. She said those teachers "already feel it's not fair" that they get paid the same as a teacher in Morrisville who has only one poor student in the class.
But school board member Ron Margiotta disagreed, saying teachers in low-poverty schools have challenges too. He said those teachers might be in a class where they're dealing with eight languages.
School board chairwoman Rosa Gill, who is not a fan of merit pay, also said that teachers at the other schools have challenges too.
The board has agreed to continue studying the merit pay issue.