Worthington school district administrators - those people who run the schools from either the central office or the principals' offices - will receive a 2.85-percent salary increase each of the next three years.

Worthington school district administrators - those people who run the schools from either the central office or the principals' offices - will receive a 2.85-percent salary increase each of the next three years.

In addition, they may receive performance-based bonuses each year, based on a new, objective measurement of achievement. The amount of that incentive pay will be determined during the summer following the school year to be considered.

The Worthington Board of Education approved the administrative compensation package at its meeting on Monday night.

The pay increase is based on the percentage increase to the base salary of teachers as was approved by the board two weeks ago.

Teachers will receive at least 2.85 percent salary increase each of the next three years. Those who receive step increases, which are all but 37 percent of teachers this year, will receive more than 2.85 percent. Some teachers will receive up to double-figure increases, when additional pay for attaining additional education is included.

The district's 45 administrators do not receive step increases, but they do receive merit pay. In recent years, that has been 1.9 percent for those who qualified, according to a subjective evaluation.

That evaluation will be replaced by an accountability system called the "balanced scorecard," which is still being designed but is intended to determine the size of the annual performance pay based on specific and measurable improvements.

Superintendent of Schools Melissa Conrath is working on the specifics of the plan. Once it is complete, all administrators will learn what specific measurements will be placed on areas such as student achievement, reform and renewal programs, communications and finances.

To measure the success of a program, for instance, one might consider demand for it by students, student performance measured by test scores, and results of student and parent surveys.

Administrators will no longer be rewarded for the process of implementing change, but for the measurable impact of those changes, Conrath said.

Based on the measured outcomes, all administrators will receive the same performance pay increase. All administrators will either not meet, meet, exceed, or excel.

"The thing is, we're all in this together now," said district spokesperson Vicki Gnezda.

The incentive bonus will probably be paid in lump sums at the end of the summer, said treasurer Jeff McCuen.

At the request of board member Marc Schare, wording of the new "balanced scorecard" provision was tightened up by including the words "board approved." Without that wording, future superintendents could grant 20-percent incentive pays, he said.

Fringe benefits for administrators for the next three years will include a health-care plan similar to that of teachers.

The board will provide a high-deductible plan. Individuals have a deductible of $1,500, families $3,000 a year. A health-savings account can help cover the deductible. The board's contribution to the accounts will be 65 percent effective Jan. 1, 2009; 60 percent Jan. 1, 2010; and 55 percent on Jan. 1, 2011.

Each administrator will pay 10 percent of his or her monthly premium in 2009, 12 percent in 2010, and 14 percent in 2011.

Also at Monday's meeting, the board heard a report on the Schoolyard Enhanced Learning (SYEL), which is an experiential, nature-based learning program that began this year at Brookside Elementary School.

The entire school is involved in the program that takes advantage of Brookside's pond and natural setting to motivate and inspire learning and to integrate nature into many different learning areas, said principal Fritz Monroe.

Thematic units will provide opportunities for students to collect data and apply scientific principles to areas such as wildflowers, Monarch butterflies, ponds, trees and leaves, energy, animals and recycling.

Some outdoor lessons may just be for a change of classroom, to go outside and read or draw or write.

Field trips will become a critical part of the program, with classes visiting local parks, wetlands, the zoo and other attractions that offer outdoor learning experiences.

The school may also collaborate with the community in developing a vegetable garden on school grounds. Food education would then become a part of the school's curriculum.

The program was designed by Brookside staff with the input of the community as part of the district's efforts to renew education for the 21st century.

A start-up cost of the program will be $28,520, which will cover books, field trips, professional development and other items that will support outdoor education.

A second cost will be $51,211 to cover equipment for flat screen displays and a par course, which is a physical education course that will be developed on school grounds