By Bill Short
The Millington Municipal School System will apply for a federal grant that is designed to provide bonuses for its high-performing teachers.
Deputy Superintendent Georgia Dawson said that, as a member of the Association of Independent Municipal Schools, the system is participating in the Tennessee AIMS Teacher Incentive Fund Consortium.
AIMS is a group of small municipal school systems in the state applying for one of the next available federal grants for Teacher Incentive Fund money.
While noting that a number of districts have received those funds in recent years, Dawson said the Millington School Board had also expressed an interest in seeking them.
“We looked into this a couple of years ago,” she recalled. “And we thought maybe some funds might come our way, but they did not.”
Dawson made the comments during a report at the board’s July 5 meeting.
She noted that, approximately three weeks ago, the school system received a telephone call from some people who thought it might be interested.
“We said, ‘Oh, yes. Keep us in your thoughts on this,” she told the board members. “And sure enough, we did get an invitation to participate.”
Dawson acknowledged that there are “no assurances here.” But if the consortium receives the grant, she said all four of Millington’s schools could benefit from the funds.
While noting that the Kingsport Municipal School System will be the “lead fiscal agent” on the grant application, she said a decision is expected in September.
If Millington receives the grant, Dawson said, a one-year “planning process” will be necessary.
“We would pull in our teachers and administrators,” she said. “And we would write the process that we would want our school system to follow.”
Dr. David Roper, the system’s superintendent, asked Dawson to explain why Millington’s schools would qualify for the grant when not all others would.
In order to qualify, Dawson said, there must be a “50-percent poverty level.” She also noted that the Millington system has a “differentiated pay plan.”
“We already have a one-lane salary schedule,” she said. “So, when they were looking at school districts that might be interested, they said Millington has already done a lot of work to prepare itself to go to this next level.”
Dawson said the school system’s administrators have their “fingers crossed,” because the teachers and students deserve the grant.
“We’re real excited about it,” she concluded. “It’s an opportunity for something that we think could make a difference in the lives of our students.”