A retired southwest Iowa superintendent is serving as the chairman of a commission the governor appointed to discuss ways to link teacher pay with performance. Steve Waterman, the former superintendent at Clarke of Osceola, is chairman of the group.

“We all kind of know that’s a controversial issue. The legislature passed something that the governor ended up vetoing,” Waterman says. “Right from the start, we know there are many different opinions on this one.” Vilsack surprised many legislators by using his item veto authority to remove provisions from an education bill that would have begun the process of requiring teachers be paid based on the performance of the students in their classroom.

Waterman say he and the other four members of the commission represent all aspects of education. Other members are Robert Koob, the retired president of the University of Northern Iowa; Iowa Department of Education director Judy Jeffreys; the executive director of the Iowa State Education Association — that’s the state teachers’ union; and the superintendent of Jefferson/Scranton schools.

Waterman says the group has contracted with some full-time staff to review the research on the topic.” Waterman says the staff will be “doing the groundwork” — or “gruntwork” — and the commission will review the reports, and meet perhaps twice a month between now and early January, when the commission’s report is due.

“Kind of knowing politics as I do, I think the results of the election coming in the fall will probably weigh very strongly on what the future of any recommendations might be,” Waterman says. Governor Vilsack won’t be around to press legislators to endorse the commission’s recommendations. Iowa voters will select a new governor in November who will take office in January.