Principals Contract

Flying under the radar, we finally have a 3-year principals contract that has been approved by PASS, the principals' representative group. It needs to be approved by the Board at Wednesday's School Board meeting.

I attended a meeting where Director Sundquist and Howard Pripas, the Director of Labor and Employee Relations went over the principals contract. It is quite an interesting contract. Here's some highlights:
  • Steve says the key change is the principal evaluation process which is being worked on and is due to be done by April 1 by the Principal Performance Evaluation Task Force. The evaluation would include student and school growth. To get the increase in pay, this evaluation system has to be completed by April 1, 2011.
  • This contract takes principals from a 3-step salary range to their salary (beyond base pay) being determined through the annual opportunity to earn both a Performance Increment and a Student Achievement Bonus.
  • The district had done assessments of what other Puget Sound area principals were being paid and did a market adjustment based on that research. In year one, the elementary principals (including K-8) will receive raises of 2.5%, and middle school principals 2% and high school principals 1%. In years 2-3, all principals receive a 1% raise. This is only for principals, not assistant principals. This money comes from the General Fund. The salary schedule is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2011.
I just want to point out here that (1) teachers only got their raises because the supplemental levy passed and (2) that no other government employees are getting raises. While I absolutely think teachers and principals work very hard, I also see that other state/city employees would never think of asking for raises right now.
  • The district wanted to give the raises based on the increased workload because of the SEA contract.
  • There is this one weird thing (mentioned above) which is the Performance Increment. Basically, any principal that passes an assessment using the performance rubric during July 1 through June 30 (beginning July 1, 2011) gets a $2K per year thereafter. It seems odd that one year's evaluation gets you a bump for the rest of your career.
  • Then there's the Student Achievement Bonus. Starting in Sep. 2011, a principals can earn up to $10K based on demonstrated growth in student achievement. The bonus amount will not be retained in a school administrator's base salary.
  • More ways to earn more money: principals working in an "innovative/high growth" school go to work in a low performing/low growth school - $10K one-time bonus. (There may also be stipends.) Also if a principal working in an "innovative/high growth" school agrees to mentor and coach a principal in a lower performing, low growth school, he/she can earn $2500 bonus with up to $2500 for principal substitute coverage. (I'm not sure what that last phrase means.)
  • As well there are bonuses for working on committees and taskforces plus opening/closing a school.
  • Principals get 4-weeks vacation. They can also cash out a certain number of days.
They were asked about the process to complain about low-performing principals. Just as they like to hedge on teacher exit processes, they hedged on this one. From the contract:

Therefore, unless exigent or emergency circumstances exist, the Board of Directors, Superintendent and Senior leaders staff should refer complaints or problems about a Principal/Program Manager to the Principal/ Program Manager with the expectation that the Principal/Program Manager will address the complaint collaboratively, if appropriate, timely, and in a manner that best meets the needs of the educational setting.

If the person complaining is not satisfied with how the Principal/Program Manager handled the matter, he or she may pursue the issue with the Principal/Program Manager’s supervisor. The supervisor, after looking into the matter, may agree to the Principal/Program Manager’s determination, amend it further, or institute a different resolution. The supervisor may also utilize steps a - e above. The supervisor should then communicate his or her decision to the complainant as well as the Principal/Program Manager. And, the matter should end there unless there is another procedure in place to address the complainant’s issue (e.g., grievance procedure for represented employees, grievance procedure for non-rep employees, etc.)

In handling a complaint, it is recommended that the Principal/Program Manager do the following:

a. Review the problem/concern with the complainant(s);
b. Make prompt contact with the person(s) involved;
c. Investigate further if necessary;
d. If necessary or appropriate, refer, get advice from, or work collaboratively with Human Resources or Central Administration on the matter; notify the complainant if the matter has been referred to Human Resources or Senior leaders;
e. Make a determination and communicate the determination to the person(s) involved.

So it's a passing off from person to person. I will let you know that for either a teacher or principal, if you file a written complaint about a teacher or principal unless there is a formal investigation, your written complaint will NOT become part of their file. I couldn't get an answer of whether it is noted in a logbook anywhere the number of complaints that a teacher or principal receives.


The First Arnold said…
OK. Show me the money.
The First Arnold said…
Will the principals dummy down standards for monitary benefit?

Think we are heading in the wrong direction.
SP said…
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SP said…
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SP said…
Interesting to note that out of a 35 page contract, fully 1/3 of the pages are covering wages.

7 pages are salary schedules with the guaranteed increase each year, plus 5 additional pages of wage bumps, including as Melissa mentioned:

1. Performance Increments (permanent bump up) up to $2,000/yr,
2. Student Achievement Bonus- annually up to $10,000 yr.,

Two different Incentive Pay provisions:

3. Low performing/low growth schools $10,000 one-time bonus,
4. Principal mentor/coach positions up to $2,500 annual bonus with up to $2,500 principal substitute coverage

Then, there are 3 more pages!

Section C. Supplementary Contracts/Special Project Pay-

5. Performance Management Oversight Committee- 5 principals up to $1,500 ea/ annually,
6. Principal Performance Evaluation Task Force- $3,000 ea. for 5 principals to work on taskforce until April 1, 2011 (ie less than 2months),
7. Principal Compensation Task Force- 5 principals this year only, $1,500 ea.

Other Special Project Pay:
8. Opening or Closing a school- up to $5,000 annually for up to 2 years,
9.. Leading a SIG (School Improvement Grant) school- up to $5,000 per year for the term of the grant (3 years per grant- next year this will be a total of 5 schools),
10. "Outside Duties"- up to $2,000 annually at the discretion of the regional director.

So, next year for a Principal let's say at Cleveland HS, base pay at $121,600,
could be earning all of the additional:
performance bonuses $2,000,
achievement bonuses $10,000,
plus incentive pay for low performing/growth school $10,000,
earn a stipend for being on a task force $3,000,
earn bonus for opening/closing a school $5,000,
leading a SIG grant school $5,000
and an Outside Duties bonus $2,000.

That's a whopping $37,000 in bonuses for just one principal at one school for one year, for a total of $158,600/year!

Is there any estimate how much more this new PASS contract is going to cost us?

Seattle Parent
(it looks like my name has been changed to SP by Google?)
MAPsucks said…
Okay, there's no incentive for MAP coaching, forcing, "helping", here. Move along.
Steve and Howard said $3.7M over 3 years for the costs of the contract.
SP said…
$3.7 M-
Melissa,thanks- at which meeting did Steve & Howard say this? And did they say where will all this extra money come from, at the cost of more cuts to what?

I don't like having to use the new website as it bounces you back & forth so much, but I did go to the Action Report which has a different amount of only $1.4M for 3 yrs:
(...and what a goofy way to put it in the 1st sentence, "fiscal impact of 6.1%" of WHAT?)

"The total fiscal impact is approximately 6.1% over the three years. The estimated three year impact is $1.4 million (including benefits), based on “midrange” assumptions of the number of principals who will qualify for the incentives. This includes market salary increases (1.7%) in the first year, 1% increases in the second year and third year and the estimated cost of performance increments and bonuses."

Why $3.7 verbally vs $1.4 in the Action Report which is what the vote is based on?

Seattle Parent
SP, this was a meeting of the Seattle Organizers group (that formed to be able to give input on teacher contracts). As I said, I was told the money comes out of the General Fund. Naturally, it is hard to say what won't get funded to fund this contract. I don't know why there is is a difference between the figures - maybe the larger figure includes a projection of the bonus payouts?

Again, I know the principals work very hard but virtually no other public employees will get raises (or would even ask).
gavroche said…
I suspect that MGJ is bribing Principals to get them to enforce her agenda -- top-down central control, standardization, teacher-bullying. She is probably also "incentivizing" the Principals to hire those unqualified Teach for America college kids which she has promised SPS would hire.

(Incentivizing or threatening....)
Anonymous said…
Gavroche has it I think.
Why else the incentive to get the teacher performance review into place by April. Using the lever of money. Gee, wonder what principals' first priority will be.

mirmac1 said…
Why is it teachers and their union are made into lazy, slackers racking in the dough. But if principals push for the bucks, hey that's capitalism at its finest. Who has the most direct impact on your child's education? Where should the money go?
Maureen said…
Why else the incentive to get the teacher performance review into place by April.

The timeline also intersects with the building budget process. Principals will have less time to push back on cuts, if they are expected to focus on teacher reviews.
gavroche said…
You'll note that the role of Principals was largely absent from all the public and political discussions of merit pay, teacher reviews and firing "ineffective" teachers that went on this past year.

It seemed that the Principals were being let off the hook for any responsibility for dealing with weaker teachers.

Did that $14,000 NCTQ "report" on "Human Capital" that the Alliance secretly arranged and Gates paid for even mention Principals? Or was it just a dissection of teachers?

I also suspect MGJ shuffled Principals around to intentionally create instability, to break as many ties as she could between Principals (especially longstanding and well-liked ones) and their school communities, so the Principals would feel no loyalty to the teachers and community they were being told to control and pressure.

It's easier to ax someone you don't know.

I think the "musical Principals" game MGJ played was also her way of sending Principals a message that she is in control of their destiny and can move them anywhere in the District she pleases, like chess pieces, so they'd better fall in line, or else.

And now the Principals are being offered a carrot if they continue to comply with The Agenda.

Corporate America in action.

(Or is it Fascism? I get the two confused.)
Kate Martin said…
Pretty sad to read about their contract.

While we have some good ones, I think most of our principals are seriously underwhelming in terms of management skills. We've got 100 of them making roughly $125K each. That's absurd.

I often recommend to the teens I know that they at least consider the 2 year masters in education administration as an option to get into one of these overpaid positions.
Rufus X said…
@gavroche & @kate martin - agreed. Underwhelming to say the least. I was going to mention an almost robotic, corporate-speak, bureaucracy-enamoured ethic to the recent crop of new-ish principals (mostly from the past 3-5 years), but yours is a much kinder & more diplomatic description.
Kate Martin said…
The culture in a school is very much tied to the principal. A great principal can really shield the parents, the students and the teachers from so much of the admin BS. It's awful to be in a school when the teachers don't trust and respect the principal. This contract along with the musical chairs sounds like a death knell for healthy teacher-principal relations and thus it's potentially a real blow to all schools, teachers, students & families.
Anonymous said…
Kate M., you nailed it. Our school suffered through the musical chair the last three years with 4 different principals. Our school is a bit like Tunisia these days with a leadership vacuum where parent groups and teachers are vying for turf and power. Our latest, brand new, young principal is struggling to maintain control, but even the kids are picking up on the chaos and are more disorderly. Attendances to our PTA sponsored events are down. There doesn't seem to be a coherent plan to deal with the achievement gap, declining academic scores, poorly planned program changes, and funding priority in our school.

Think we need to change the Superintendent and SPS's motto to be: First, Do No Harm!

Suffering Serious Side Effects
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