DES MOINES - Gov. Tom Vilsack and legislative leaders said Thursday they were optimistic a compromise could reached on two proposals to overhaul the way Iowa pays its teachers.
Vilsack met for more than an hour with legislative leaders from both political parties, Iowa Department of Education director Ted Stilwill and the leaders of two task forces that have released plans for changing teacher compensation.
"During the course of our discussions it became pretty clear that there are really differences, but differences which aren't necessarily significant enough" to prevent the merging of the plans, Vilsack said.
"I'm committed to having this done before the legislative session begins," he said.
Iowa ranks 35th in the nation with an average teacher salary of nearly $35,000.
Vilsack has endorsed the findings of a task force led by Wellmark CEO John Forsyth that would tie compensation to student achievement and raise the minimum salary - now $23,000 - to nearly $29,700. The proposal would likely cost $250 million over five years.
Des Moines businessman Marvin Pomerantz, a former Board of Regents president, released a report that stresses competency and connects pay raises at higher wage levels to performance.
The Pomerantz plan, which many Republicans find favorable, would increase entry-level salaries by $2,000 and require teachers to be tested in order to earn higher pay, with the possibility of doubling their salaries within 10 years.