Vallas to receive $180,000 in unused benefits

Posted: July 10, 2007

The Philadelphia School District will pay Paul Vallas, its former chief executive officer, nearly $180,000 in unused vacation and sick time, deferred salary, and retention pay under an agreement announced yesterday.

District spokeswoman Cecilia Cummings said Vallas, who became CEO in July 2002, was paid only "what he was entitled to under his contract."

His final compensation package - outlined in a two-paragraph news release issued about 4:30 p.m. yesterday - became a matter of controversy last month after rumors that Vallas was in line for a hefty severance package. Democratic mayoral nominee Michael Nutter and City Controller Alan Butkovitz responded by questioning the rationale of the district's negotiating a severance package when it faces a deficit requiring $100 million in cuts.

Nutter and Butkovitz said yesterday it appeared that the district had paid Vallas only what his contract prescribed.

"It sounds like they stayed within the contract, so that's appropriate," Butkovitz said.

"It sounds like the [School Reform Commission] held the line," Nutter said.

Commission Chairman James Nevels could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Vallas, 54, left the district last month to accept the superintendent's job in New Orleans. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The $180,000 brings Vallas' total compensation for 2006-07 to nearly $430,000. (The $54,604 in vacation and personal days, however, was accrued over his five years in the district.)

The contract called for Vallas to receive a salary of $275,000 for 2006-07, but he opted last fall to forgo his raise of $25,000 and collect only $250,000 after a $73 million deficit emerged.

Cummings said the agreement calls for Vallas to receive that $25,000 deferred raise.

He also will get a $100,000 "retention bonus," which he was entitled to receive if he remained in the district through the end of the fiscal year. Vallas departed in mid-June but had unused vacation and personal days to bridge the difference, Cummings said.

Vallas previously had received $400,000 in retention bonuses for the prior four years of the contract, she said.

The agreement also pays Vallas for 37.5 unused vacation days and 11 personal days, amounting to $54,604.

It does not award him the 20 percent performance bonus that he was eligible for under the contract. Vallas received such bonuses in the previous four years.

Vallas left the district at odds with the School Reform Commission over deteriorating district finances.

Contact staff writer Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or

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