D.C. charter schools will share nearly $10 million to use during the 2010-11 school year for "innovative compensation strategies" for their teachers, according to an announcement Tuesday by District officials.

The money -- part of $20 million the federal government gives the city's charters each year -- is aimed at helping them keep pace with a new D.C. Public Schools teachers contract. The DCPS contract, passed in early July, offers a nearly 22 percent pay raise by 2012 and bonuses of up to $30,000 for the top-performing instructors. The average DCPS salary is predicted to jump from about $67,000 this year to more than $81,000 in the fall.

Teachers at the District's 57 public charter schools are slated to see more modest salary increases in the fall, if any. While charters serve about a third of the city's 75,000 students, they are operated independently and outside the domain of Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and the new contract.

"This is a critical issue for all of our schools," Mayor Adrian Fenty said. "We want the best teachers in every classroom, and this funding proposal helps charters reach that goal."

It also highlights the competition touted as a benefit to charter schools existing alongside a traditional public school system. The logic goes that if one school, or one group of schools under the same umbrella, creates a desirable workplace -- by offering more money, for example -- then others will rise as well so they can compete for the best teachers.

Schools eligible for the money will receive about $300 per student. The money could go, for example, toward bonuses for top teachers or to compensate teachers willing to tutor students on Saturdays.

Public Charter School Board chief Brian Jones called the money "an important step in the right direction," and said it would "make the District an even more attractive market for the best teaching talent."

Some charters threatened in the spring to sue the city over funding inequalities, saying the District had failed to meet the 1995 law that created the city's robust charter system. They complained that charter schools receive about $3,000 less per student than DCPS schools for facilities costs.

To help close the gap, the remaining $10 million of the federal dollars will go toward building costs such as rent and supplies.