(NASHVILLE, TN, April 17, 2007) – State Representative Matthew Hill (R-Johnson City) has joined efforts with House Education Chairman Les Winningham (D-Oneida), Rep. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), and Rep. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) to pass legislation to give teachers supplemental pay for gaining the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Certification. All four lawmakers brought separate bills to the General Assembly this year to provide supplemental pay for the stringent certification. However, Rep. Hill’s bill would have also provided scholarship money which he says would have helped teachers afford to take the test.

“I am joining efforts with my fellow lawmakers to pass a bill this session to give supplemental pay to teachers with this certification,” said Rep. Hill. “I have also asked our Education Committee to help me come back next year to provide low interest loans and financial aid to help teachers afford to take this test. If they can’t afford to go and take the test, the supplement will do them no good. The loan provision is an important component that I feel very passionate about in order to help reward outstanding teachers and to assist us to recruit and retain them in our classrooms.”

“I appreciate Rep. Hill’s bringing his bill and combining our efforts and hopefully we can work out something at some point in time that will really recognize the teachers that go through the certification process ,” said Chairman Winningham in a meeting of the K-12 Subcommittee.

The bill, HB 1735, which is now beginning to move through the committee process, would provide $4,000 in supplemental pay for teachers with National Board Certification. Two-hundred thirty nine teachers currently hold the certification. Fiscal experts expect another 350 to apply per year for the first few years after the bill is approved.

“There is no doubt that great schools begin with great teachers,” said Rep. Hill. “This certification is highly recognized nationwide for developing the professional standards that define what accomplished teachers should know to be leaders in their schools and to greatly improve student learning. That is why many states like our neighbors in North Carolina, who we must compete with, offer similar incentives needed to get their teachers to seek this certification.”

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to help garner the support needed for passage this year,” he concluded.