Sustaining Alternative Compensation Models in Education: A Summary of Research and Practice

Ellen Cushing, Lauren Bivona, and Jenni Fetters

Creating an alternative compensation system requires a significant investment of states’ and local education agencies’ (LEAs’) financial and human resources. As alternative compensation initiatives are implemented, their success hinges upon proper integration of the new initiative into the district’s current policy system and culture (programmatic sustainability), and financially sustaining the new initiative.

This report explores the importance of program integration and financial sustainability, and provide examples of how states and LEAs are addressing sustainability challenges. The report concludes with recommendations to ensure that systems can last beyond initial implementation and funding.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The longevity of alternative compensation programs is dependent upon programmatic sustainability, fiscal sustainability, and, ultimately, whether programs are achieving their goals. Although no easy answers exist for how to ensure that compensation programs will be fully implemented in a district and will be fully funded, the literature highlights some key steps that will help states and LEAs ensure their systems will endure over time.

  • Begin planning for the future by looking at today.
  • Get stakeholders involved.
  • Anticipate start-up, implementation, and future costs.
  • Be creative.
  • Match funding sources to funding needs.
  • Anticipate, implement, and reassess.