Superintendent was lone schools official to take promised pay cut

Posted: March 21, 2014

WHEN TALK of massive layoffs swirled around the Philadelphia School District last year, high-ranking administrators promised to take pay cuts.

The district had sought $133 million in labor concessions from employees, so the officials' often-espoused mantra of "shared sacrifices" would extend to them, too, they said.

"Compensation for senior leadership" would be reduced, consistent with decreases imposed on nonunion staff in 2012, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. told reporters last April.

By August, the details were more firm: Hite and nine staffers would take a 10 percent pay cut on Oct. 1. As promised, Hite took a wage hit, lowering his $300,000 annual salary to $270,000.

But his tops aides did not. They continue to earn their pre-doomsday budget salaries, averaging about $167,000 a year, according to a list released this week by the website Watchdog.org. The site published a list of 395 people earning annual incomes of $100,000 and more.

The list was released one day after the principals union, the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, ratified a contract that includes a 16 percent salary reduction to work a 10-month year and contributions to their health-care benefits.

It is unclear who, besides deputy superintendent Paul Kihn - who Hite had said would get a pay cut - had been expected to get a salary reduction. The district's website lists six administrators on his team, but Hite said nine staffers would have pay cuts.

Kihn continues to earn $210,000, the salary at which he was hired in September 2012.

These officers also still earn their original salaries: Chief Financial Officer Matthew E. Stanski ($175,000), Chief of Family and Community Engagement Evelyn Sample-Oates ($129,162), Chief of Student Services Karyn T. Lynch ($168,000), Chief Information Officer Melanie S. Harris ($135,329) and General Counsel Michael A. Davis ($174,800).

Three other top-earning administrators not officially with the senior team include Chief Talent Officer Naomi Wyatt ($175,000), Chief Academic Officer David M. Hardy ($160,000) and Chief Operating Officer Frances Burns ($175,000).

Responding to an inquiry from the Daily News, district spokesman Fernando Gallard said in an email: "With the budget and labor processes still ongoing, any decisions about potential salary reductions, including who would be impacted and when they would take effect, have not yet been determined."

When told that Hite had said that he and nine other staffers would take wage cuts on Oct. 1, Gallard declined to comment.

An audio recording of a news conference in August shows that Hite said he was going to take a pay cut Oct. 1 because "as you recall, I started on Oct. 1."

(The district website says Hite was appointed June 29, 2012, although district documents list his start date as July 25, 2012. Hite went full time on Sept. 19.)

When the Daily News asked Hite at the news conference if Kihn and other staffers would be included in the pay reductions, Hite said: "I'm asking everyone on my senior staff to do that."

A reporter from another news organization asked Hite: "How many people is that?"

Hite answered: "At the moment, it's nine."

The reporter then asked: "Did you all agree on the cuts, or is that involuntary?"

Hite replied: "No one agrees, but it's . . . we're not going to ask anyone to do anything we're not prepared to do ourselves."


On Twitter: @ReginaMedina

Online: ph.ly/DNEducation

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