Nearly 150 Illinois public school districts gave bonuses to teachers and administrators last school year.
The Chicago Tribune says the 144 districts represent 20 percent of all districts. Citing state data, the newspaper reports about 3,100 people received a total of $5.5 million. The average was $1,750.
Bonuses have become a common way to inspire educators to improve student achievement. But researchers say results are varied, and critics wonder whether it's a good use of tax dollars.
Lake County's Community High School District 128 recently paid $500,000 in "performance recognition" checks, mostly to teachers for high student achievemment. Administrators and custodians were also among those getting bonuses.
School Board President Pat Groody says it's a way to get people focused on "the concept that performance matters."