TITLE 17. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 2. TEACHERS AND EMPLOYEES
PART I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
17:427.3 Teach Louisiana First Program; purpose; eligibility criteria; incentive payments; reports; administration; funding
A. There is hereby created the Teach Louisiana First Program, referred to in this Section as the "program," for the purpose of providing incentives to reduce the shortage of teachers certified to teach certain core subjects in low-performing public schools as defined by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, referred to in this Section as the "state board," pursuant to policies adopted by the state board for implementation of the school and district accountability system.
B. (1)(a) The program shall provide for the payment, pursuant to a contract with the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission, referred to in this Section as the "administering agency," of incentive pay to highly qualified teachers who are employed by city, parish, or other local public school boards, referred to in this Section as a "school board," selected by the state Department of Education, referred to in this Section as the "department," pursuant to standards established by the state board, all as provided in this Section.
(b) The incentive payment provided to teachers participating in this program shall be in addition to any salary adjustment received by a teacher holding a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards pursuant to R.S. 17:421.6.
(2) The state board shall by rule adopted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act and through the department:
(a) Establish the criteria for and identify the low-performing schools in which teachers eligible to receive incentives pursuant to this Section may be employed and designate the core subjects within such schools that are critical to the school's improvement.
(b) Determine the interest of the school board with jurisdiction over a school identified pursuant to Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph in participating in the program and provide such school board with all criteria and guidelines regarding the program.
(c) Establish the criteria for identifying teachers eligible to receive incentives pursuant to this Section.
(d)(i) Establish and execute a system of prioritization for the allocation of authority to employ teachers eligible to receive incentives pursuant to this Section.
(ii) In determining such prioritization, the state board shall establish and consider criteria including:
(aa) School performance scores.
(bb) District performance scores.
(cc) Percentage of uncertified teachers.
(dd) Poverty level.
(iii) The state board shall seek to provide for the employment of such teachers in a sufficient number in a school to create improvement in student achievement and in school and district performance.
(e)(i) Pursuant to the system of prioritization established pursuant to Subparagraph (d) of this Paragraph, select and notify participating school boards and specify the schools and the core subjects that teachers who shall receive incentives pursuant to this Section may be hired to teach.
(ii) Provide for the reallocation of positions which remain unfilled by selected schools.
(f) Cooperatively establish and cause to be conducted a periodic evaluation of the program to measure its effectiveness in promoting the program purpose specified in this Section.
(g) Define "core subjects" for the purposes of this program.
(h) Determine the allocation of available funds to participating school boards in the event there are insufficient funds appropriated to provide for the payment of incentives to each eligible teacher, including those already participating in the program, and for notification of the allocation to the administering agency.
C. (1) To participate in the program, a teacher shall be employed by a school board to teach a core subject in a low-performing school specified pursuant to this Section, sign an employment contract with the school board to teach in a selected school in a subject area in which the applicant is certified, sign a program contract with the administering agency to receive the incentive payment pursuant to the program, and meet one of the following sets of criteria:
(a) Have completed a state-approved teacher training program, have satisfactorily passed the examination required by R.S. 17:7(6)(b) as reported by the department, meet the requirements of federal law for designation as a highly qualified teacher in a Title I school, and have held a valid Louisiana teaching certificate issued by the department in the subject area or areas in which the applicant is contracted to teach for not more than the two years immediately preceding the execution of a teaching contract with a school board for participation in the program.
(b) Have at least three years of classroom teaching experience, hold a valid Louisiana teaching certificate issued by the department in the subject area or areas in which the applicant is contracted to teach, and meet the requirements of federal law for designation as a highly qualified teacher in a Title I school.
(2) In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria as provided in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, each applicant shall meet all other requirements for certification and employment as a teacher in public schools required by law and the rules and regulations of the state board, comply with all provisions of the school board's employment contract, and comply with the administering agency's program contract for receipt of an incentive payment.
(3) To participate, a teacher may be employed in the school system, but shall be newly assigned to the low-performing school or re-hired to teach in a school that has been reconstituted pursuant to state board policy.
D. (1) Each school board which employs a teacher who meets the criteria set forth in Paragraph (C)(1) and Subparagraph (C)(1)(a) of this Section and enters into a contract with the school board to participate in the program, upon execution of a program contract by the administering agency, shall receive a payment of four thousand dollars to be paid by the school board to such teacher for the first year of teaching as provided in this Section. For each of the three consecutive years immediately following the first year of teaching, if the teacher is continued in the program by the school board based upon its evaluation of the teacher's performance and the school is continued in the program as determined by the department, the school board which employs the teacher shall receive four thousand dollars or, upon the teacher meeting the teaching experience requirements of Subparagraph (C)(1)(b) of this Section shall receive six thousand dollars per year to be paid by the school board to such teacher as provided in this Section.
(2) Each school board which employs the teacher who meets the criteria set forth in Paragraph (C)(1) and Subparagraph (C)(1)(b) of this Section and enters into a contract with the school board to participate in the program, upon execution of a program contract by the administering agency, shall receive a payment of six thousand dollars to be paid by the school board to such teacher for the first year of teaching as provided in this Section. For each of the three consecutive years immediately following the first year of teaching, if the teacher is continued in the program by the school board based upon its evaluation of the teacher's performance and the school is continued in the program as determined by the department, the school board which employs the teacher shall receive six thousand dollars for each year of participation in the program up to the limitation prescribed in Paragraph (3) of this Subsection.
(3) No program participant shall receive any incentive payment as provided in this Section for more than four consecutive years of teaching as provided in this Section and the total amount of incentive payments provided to any participant for such four-year period shall not exceed twenty-four thousand dollars.
(4) Each participating school board shall provide the incentive pay to which a teacher is entitled pursuant to this Section in three payments. The first shall be paid at the beginning of the school year; the second at the conclusion of the first one-half of the school year; the third at the conclusion of the school year. Such payments may be included in the teacher's regular pay check that occurs at the designated time or may be paid in an additional and separate check. The exact time for the payments required by this Paragraph shall be determined by the employing school board provided such times generally meet the requirements of this Paragraph.
(5) If any program participant incurred federal student loan debt in the course of his education prior to participation in the program, such participant may elect to apply any payments he has received pursuant to the program toward the loan debt. In such case, the administering agency shall forward the amount as designated by the participant, up to the maximum amount of the incentive payment due to the participant, to the holder of the federal student loan to apply toward the participant's loan debt.
E. (1) Prior to receiving an incentive payment pursuant to this Section, each teacher who has met the requirements of this Section for participation in the program shall enter into a program contract with the administering agency in which the teacher agrees to the terms and conditions upon which the payment shall be made. Such contract shall include the terms and provisions as are necessary to carry out the purpose of the program including an agreement by the applicant to reimburse to the state the amount of the incentive payment received for any program year in which the applicant fails to teach for the complete year pursuant to notification by the employing school board to the department and the administering agency unless the debt is forgiven by the administering agency in part or in whole for justifiable cause as established by the administering agency. The contract shall be prepared by the administering agency in consultation and cooperation with the department, shall be approved by the attorney general, and shall be signed by such officer or employee of the administering agency as it shall designate and shall be signed by the teacher.
(2) The obligation of the teacher to repay an incentive payment pursuant to the provisions of this Section shall remain in effect until the teacher has completed the year of teaching for which the payment is made in compliance with the terms and conditions of the school board's employment contract and the administering agency's program contract or has repaid the amount of the payment and any interest that may be charged thereon, all in accordance with the terms of the program contract.
(3) Upon the teacher's breach of any terms of the contract with the school board or the administering agency, or both, the administering agency shall take all necessary steps to secure collection of any incentive payment authorized, up to and including referral to the attorney general for collection.
(4) The attorney general shall be responsible for collection of any balance due to the state from a participant for breach of a contract as required by this Section.
F. (1) The program shall be administered by the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission which shall promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act for the implementation of the program.
(2) Such rules and regulations shall include the following:
(a) Applications, contract forms, audit procedures, and deadlines for receipt by the commission of any information or reports required for the implementation of the program.
(b) Procedures to be used by school boards participating in the program to receive incentive payments and provide needed information to the administering agency.
(c) Procedures for recovering from school boards unused funding.
(d) Procedures for school boards to report changes in the employment status and the teaching performance of teachers hired by such boards.
(e) Procedures for determining the number of program positions that may be allocated annually based upon available funds and the priorities set by the state board.
(f) Guidelines for the submission, including deadlines, of information as required for administration of the program.
(g) Procedures and requirements for providing incentive payments to participating schools.
(h) Procedures for ensuring compliance with the terms of program contracts and recovering incentive payments when either the teacher, the school, or the school board does not comply with the terms of the contracts or the requirements of the program.
(i) Such other matters as the commission deems necessary and proper to carry out the purpose of the program.
G. The commission may seek, accept, and expend funds from any source, including private business, industry, foundations, and other groups as well as any federal or other governmental funding available for the implementation of the program.
H. (1) The state board, the department, and the participating schools and school boards shall provide information to the administering agency at times required by the administering agency as needed to administer the program.
(2) By not later than March 1, 2010, the state board shall submit a written report to the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education on data collected by the board to determine whether significant student achievement improvements have been made by those students who were taught by teachers participating in the program, and whether improvements have been made in school and district performance as a result of the program, and whether such improvements are sufficient to warrant continuation of the program.
I. (1) Each school board allocated a program position shall employ an eligible program applicant to teach a specified core subject in a low- performing school under its jurisdiction that has been selected to participate.
(2) If the school board has not employed a qualified applicant within the period prescribed by the commission following the date of notification of participation, the school board shall return any allocated money to the commission for reallocation.
(3) Within thirty days of the change in employment status of a teacher filling a program position, the school board shall report the change using the procedure established by the commission.
(4) If a school board's program teaching positions are continued for additional years, prior to contracting with the incumbent in the position, the school board shall report to the commission on the teacher's performance as a program participant and such performance shall be rated at least satisfactory for continuation in the program.
J. Each college of education at any public post-secondary education institution shall encourage participation in the program by students enrolled in the teacher education program offered by the college.
K. The implementation of the program as provided in this Section shall be subject to the appropriation of funds by the legislature for this purpose.
Added by Acts 2003, No. 982, § 1. Amended by Acts 2005, No. 115, § 1, eff. June 21, 2005.