DN Editorial: BAD EXAMPLE

Not a great time to give raises to school administrators

Posted: November 27, 2012

FOLLOWING the tenure of Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, whose drama resembled an unfolding reality show somewhere between "Killer Karaoke" and "Survivor," the arrival of Dr. William Hite to run the district has been marked by a blessed lack of drama. So will a Daily News report on increases in salaries that went to a handful of administrators change that?

Certainly, the timing is unfortunate: just two months after the School Reform Commission moved to borrow $300 million to cover a deficit, and five months after the district's blue-collar union offered over $20 million in concessions. It also precedes contract wrangling with the teachers union that won't be pretty.

Hite says that these moves are all in the budget, and that most of the raises went to people who got promoted to higher-paying positions, including five new positions. So the changes are not raises per se, but movements that resulted in higher salaries. What bothers us - and, we suspect, others - is the great divide between the six-figure publicly funded salaries and the average salary of most Philadelphians, many of whom are the district's main constituents. (It's particularly ironic that the person whose new job will be parent engagement is making $129,000). And we're betting that teachers, who often have to dig into their own wallets for teaching supplies, won't exactly be primed to make big concessions when their contracts are negotiated soon.

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