DC Teacher's Union Agrees to Merit Pay Hard-won deal could become model for country, but it's pricey By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Apr 8, 2010 10:39 AM CDT 16 comments Comments Teachers in Washington may be able to make a lot of money if their students succeed. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Washington DC’s school district has struck a breakthrough deal with its teacher’s union that includes a merit-based pay system and eliminates what DC’s school chancellor called “ridiculous hurdles” to firing ineffective teachers. Teacher’s unions have long opposed linking pay to classroom performance, but they agreed to this one, because it boosts a DC teacher’s maximum salary from $87,000 to a whopping $147,000. School districts around the country would like to imitate the DC deal, but the price tag might scare them off. “They just negotiated the richest deal in the history of K-12 education for teachers,” the head of one nonprofit that favors performance-based pay tells the Wall Street Journal. DC’s deal was financed in part with $64.5 million in donations from four private foundations, something other districts may find hard to come by—and that funding will run out in a few years.