Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Merit Teacher Incentive Fund Program

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Educator Effectiveness & Licensure
Regulatory Authority
Response Required
Assistant Principal; Assistant Superintendent; Communications Manager / Director; Principals; Superintendents

Primary Contact Information

Memo Text

The LEARNS Act (Act 237 of the 2023 Regular Session) created the Merit Teacher Incentive Fund Program to recognize and reward excellent teachers across the State of Arkansas. A teacher deemed eligible under the program shall be rewarded with an annual bonus of no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Eligibility categories allow all classroom teachers, library media specialists, and school counselors the opportunity to meet requirements. DESE used administrative data collected through the Statewide Information System, the Educator Effectiveness System, the Arkansas Educator Licensure System (AELS) and student state assessment data to identify approximately 3,000 eligible teachers. The average incentive bonus in 2023-2024 will be approximately $3,300. A distribution map can be found here:

Eligibility categories:

  • Demonstrating outstanding growth in student performance with an effective rating.
  • Serving as a mentor to aspiring teachers participating in yearlong residencies.
  • Teaching in a subject, geographical, or designation area identified as experiencing a critical shortage of teachers with a highly effective rating or positive growth score.

More information on each eligibly category can be found here.

District superintendents should expect to receive the list of eligible teachers by Friday, June 7. Superintendents will have until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 14 to verify their lists of eligible teachers by submitting a signed statement of assurance to DESE. Superintendents will be expected to verify that the recipient was employed as one of the following during the 2023-24 school year:

  • A licensed classroom teacher who spent at least 70% of his or her contracted time working directly with students in a classroom setting teaching all grade-level or subject-matter appropriate classes
  • School counselor
  • Library media specialist
  • Aspiring teacher employed under an Aspiring Teacher Permit

DESE will send funds to cover bonuses and fringe benefits directly to the district to be distributed to verified eligible teachers by June 30, 2024.

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