Committee of Seventy asks SRC to release parameters of superintendent contract

Posted: June 28, 2012

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission has yet to say whether it wants William R. Hite Jr. or Pedro Martinez to be the next leader of the School District, but the good-government group the Committee of Seventy has a message for the board:

Whomever you choose as leader, open the contract.

Superintendent contracts have always been public. But the committee has asked the SRC to release "broad parameters" before any contract is finalized.

SRC member Wendell Pritchett, chair of the superintendent search committee, has said the decision could come this week, a time frame the committee said has some believing the SRC is "acting too quickly."

Either way, "the public has a right to know the costs of bringing and keeping the new superintendent here," Zack Stalberg, the committee's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "Maximum transparency and full deliberation is especially important given the School District's grave financial situation and the past history of secrecy surrounding deals made with ex-Superintendent Arlene Ackerman by the former SRC."

Stalberg acknowledged that while disclosing the specifics of the contract while it was being negotiated could be dicey, "the SRC can help diffuse a potential firestorm by providing some general information about the discussions with the two finalists for superintendents rather than risk the details leaking out in bits and pieces."

Ackerman's "overly generous" package should be kept in mind, the committee said. It urged the SRC to "tie performance bonuses to objective criteria with public input"; to make any superintendent performance evaluation public; to establish "modest financial caps" for any buyout package; to limit the initial term to five years; and to eliminate retention bonuses.

In response, Pritchett issued a statement saying, "We thank Zack Stalberg and the Committee of Seventy for their advice on this very important issue. We plan to make this process as transparent as possible and will be releasing further information regarding the contract process in the near future. The SRC is committed to making sure that a superintendent contract is fair to the children of Philadelphia and the city's taxpayers."


 

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|