Thursday, March 19, 2009

CCSD Signing Bonuses for Principals on the Move

What drives people to become principals? I ask the question because the job has zero appeal to most teachers or other professionals.

During the 1950s and 1960s in Charleston County, principals were former football coaches, a phenomenon apparently justified by the idea that the principal oversaw a team, since it certainly was not tied to academic prowess. Strangely enough, the one exception that I'm aware of was the revered Bernard Hester at St. Andrews High in West Ashley. I've often wondered how a person with his talents got the job.

Because of the AIG-bonus fiasco, now questions are raised in retrospect regarding bonuses paid to the CCSD principals above (click on picture for larger view). These are signing bonuses agreed upon during contract negotiations. [See Principals to Receive Bonuses in Thursday's P & C.] According to the article, "The district [. . .] has offered bonuses at some below average and unsatisfactory-rated schools to recruit the best applicants." The bonuses derive from a state fund referred to as "intervention and assistance money" and are perfectly legal.

The yearly bonuses amount to about $20,000 over and above the usual principal's compensation. They are not, however, tied to on-the-job performance. The practice suggests that today's principals refuse difficult jobs without extra compensation, afraid that lack of success will damage their careers.

Do teachers, the ones on the front lines at those same schools, get bonuses?

Maybe Charleston can't lure principals from other states without paying higher amounts. What, they don't want to come here just for the sea breeze through the palmettos? Who needs them?

These contracts can't be reneged. However, "Two of the principals who began receiving a stipend three years ago, Charles Benton at Burke High School and Dan Conner at Stall High School, received a one-year extension earlier this year because of the progress their schools have made." Who made that extension, and what was its basis? Those principals may very well have deserved the extension, but unless specific standards are in place to make it, the process smacks of cronyism.


Anonymous said...

When Mr. (David) Colwell was Principal at North Charleston High School, he, too, was "offered" a 25K bonus for the work he had done in stabilizing the school and raising some of its test scores. He declined the offer. He called it "unethical." I remember he shared this dilemma with some of his leadership team. Shortly thereafter, he resigned. And how many Principals has the school had since he left, less than 2 years ago?

Anonymous said...

CCSD is full of BULL! They do whatever they want to do and answer to no one. Stupid people including the Board believes whatever is told to them.

There are some people that deserve a bonus...after they have made progress and turned things around! Yes, teachers in some of these schools were getting an additional 10,000 a year for working there. I don't understand how they can say they are paying for the best leaders when several of the principals at these schools have only been assistant principals for a year and now they are expected to be the big change agents...based on WHAT!

Anonymous said...

It is really interesting. The principal at my son's school sits there every day and stays in her office. She never comes out. She does announcements like reading a book. She is never there when I am in building. The assistant prin does all the work. He should have gotten the bonus