"It's exciting to start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel," Ramos said.
While Hite - who makes $250,000 now as superintendent in Prince George's County, Md. - will be paid less than Ackerman, his salary is still significant in a district in acute financial distress. Philadelphia's deficit is as much as $282 million, and it must close dozens of schools in the next five years.
Ramos said the SRC had to keep in mind "the market, what his predecessors made, and the job being asked here."
Hite will start "on or before" Oct. 1. He expects to be in Philadelphia two days a week until then, paid at his prorated daily rate and reimbursed for travel expenses.
The contract calls for the SRC to review and adjust Hite's compensation annually, beginning in September 2013.
Unlike Ackerman and Paul Vallas, the CEO who preceded her, Hite will not collect a retention bonus.
He gets fewer vacation days - 25 to her 34. He gets no performance bonus in the first year of the contract but is eligible for a bonus of up to 20 percent in the last four years as long as he hits specific goals - such as improving the graduation rate, reducing teacher absenteeism, and narrowing the achievement gap between white students and their African American and Hispanic counterparts.
Hite's contract does not guarantee him a car and driver - Ackerman's and Vallas' did - though Ramos said the SRC would "let common sense be common sense. As an organization and a board, we'll afford him whatever is reasonable to do his job. But we didn't think that was the type of thing he needed in his employment agreement."
The district will provide him with the "necessary technology for the performance of his duties." He will also get $22,500 in moving expenses.
Hite, who has agreed to establish residency in the city within four months, gets a $1 million life-insurance policy at a cost to the district of no more than $3,500. The district will also pay $25,000 annually into his retirement plan.
If Hite decides to leave the job before August 2017, he must give three months' notice.
If the SRC terminates him without cause, he gets nine months' severance; if the SRC exercises that option with less than a year to go on the contract, Hite gets salary and benefits for either nine months or the remaining term of the contract, whichever is less.
Agreeing to start in Philadelphia by Oct. 1 means Hite will forfeit his Prince George's severance - $125,000 - because he is leaving that job sooner than his contract spells out. Ramos said the district would not compensate him for the severance.
Hite, in an interview, said he was gratified that the deal was done.
Of the school system's finances and Ackerman's salary, he said: "I understand where the district is."
He said he would spend as much time in Philadelphia as possible until he formally takes over.
"I'm trying to commit at least to two days," Hite said. "It is important that I get my arms around as much info about the district as I possibly can." That is more important than the Prince George's severance, Hite said.
Hite will be assisted in his transition by current chief recovery officer Thomas Knudsen, whose contract the SRC extended Wednesday.
Knudsen, whose performance was lauded by Ramos, will be paid $25,000 a month until Hite joins the district full-time, and will then serve as acting chief recovery officer and chief financial officer through Nov. 23 at $22,500 a month.
Knudsen, who said he had "been privileged" to lead the district for the last six months, said he would focus much of his time on the financing of more than $200 million in debt that is necessary to make ends meet for the 2012-13 school year.
He will also help establish a "performance management system" for the district's central office, Knudsen said - something he also implemented as head of the Philadelphia Gas Works.
That system, which will not apply to schools, will set performance goals for departments that will be checked monthly. That has been tough, Knudsen said, because of the amount of change that has occurred in the district.
But at PGW, which Knudsen is credited with turning around, "it was a culture-changer. If it isn't measured, it isn't managed. That's the difference between success and nonsuccess."
Contact Kristen Graham
at 215-854-5146 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @newskag. Read her blog, "Philly School Files," at www.philly.com/schoolfiles.