Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Have People Forgotten The Purpose Of A Bonus?

I guess it should come as no surprise to see IPS awarding bonuses to Supt. Eugene White for failure since it has become the norm in the corporate world to reward huge bonuses for utter failure. To the school's credit, it did not raise Supt. White's annual salary of $188,000, which has remained the same for 3 years. The $12,000 in bonuses it awarded him, however, to boost his annual pay to $200,000 are disturbing. The Star's Andy Gammill writes:

The board determined White should receive two of four performance-based bonuses for which he is eligible. One is an automatic $7,000 bonus if more than half of the district's elementary school students pass ISTEP tests, which they did. White did not receive an additional $14,000 in bonuses he would have gotten if middle- and high-schoolers had met the same threshold.

The other $5,000 he received is at the board's discretion, taking into consideration progress toward the board's goals and strategic direction.

"That is based on whether we think the district is moving in the right direction, which we do," School Board President Michael D. Brown said.

Brown said the board is happy with White's performance and that he appreciates the superintendent's leadership in turning down a raise until teachers have one.

Barely getting half of your elementary school students to pass the ISTEP test is hardly an accomplishment worth rewarding. And if the board thinks the school is moving in the right direction, then we have a real problem. Gammill's story notes that the bonuses were slipped into the board's agenda after it had already been posted. Apparently the board didn't want a public discussion of Supt. White's pay like what happened in the blogosphere with the discussion of the pay for the Washington Township school district superintendent recently.


Downtown Indy said...

I'm not a statistician, but isn't 50% the predicted outcome for a pass/fail experiment that has no outside influence affecting the experiment?

Unknown said...

This is sick the biggest part of the deal is that he received an additional year of salary on this contract. His contract does not expire until June 30, 2013. That means if IPS fired or asked him to signed, they owe him over $800K. IPS has lost an average of 1500 students per year under Gene White leadership and the city has not respect for him or the district. Why give him a raise????

artfuggins said...

This is positive proof that the school board is clueless. This man should be fired instead of given a bonus. They should get rid of Prudence Bridgewaters who makes a mess out of everything she tries to do. The fact that the board tried to sneak these bonuses in without it being an agenda item tells us we need to elect a new school board starting with Mary Bush.

Russell said...

The facts are all relative. 50% isn't impressive for a pass rate, but it is if it was significantly lower and under his leadership the pass rate rose. Improvement comes in increments, and if they are awarding him for incremental increases then let's go for it! $7,000 is a small price to pay for increasing test scores.

Now, I don't know the background and what the original pass/fail rates were, I am just saying that under what I said above I think it's reasonable and also needs to be put into persepctive. Just my two cents.

artfuggins said...

Russell, I suspect that the teachers in the classroom had something to do with the improvement in test scores. They haven't had a raise in 2 years and they did not get a $5000 increase in their clothing allowance [they receive no clothing allowance and dont want one] and they are not able to hire their family in made up jobs..and they are not paid to travel the world on taxpayers' money. Your thoughts are appreciated but you need to do some serious research.

Anonymous said...

Standardized testing is a bad thing in and of itself, because instead of teaching an education, teachers teach the test.

Besides, statistically 20% of the students would pass the test even if they all guessed on every question. (5 answer multiple choice), and if you start putting things like literature and essays into it, then every student is opened up to the particular bias of their particular teacher.

Tell me what you think justifies ISTEP or why it makes an acceptable benchmark.

Jon said...

If I remember correctly ISTEP is set for a 50% pass rate. Adding a year to a superintendent's contract is a normal procedure in Indiana. Dollars to donuts that 200k is base salary, by the time your add purchasing years experience in TERF, car allowance, an annuity provision, clothing allowance, 250k term life etc. his final total contract will be well north of 250k. Last year the Star published the Marion County superintendent contracts maybe they need to do so again.