Incentives May Be Paid To Tennessee Teachers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee schools are studying pay incentives for teachers under a new state law designed to increase recruitment.

But union officials say the plan is unfair and masks the larger problem of schools that are not paying teachers a competitive salary.

This year the legislature ordered school districts to develop plans for bonuses for teachers in math, science, special education and other subjects before the 2008-09 school year.

Incentives can include student loan forgiveness, signing bonuses and raises.

Human Resources Director Judith Looney for Williamson County schools say the incentives could help them fill positions in math and science.

But school districts may face a fight from teacher unions, who have historically been opposed to a salary system that places teachers on different pay scales for the same job.

Cheryl Umberger, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Education Association, said the incentives are a short-term fix to a longtime salary problem.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)