New chancellor could make $1.5M overseeing district for Michigan's troubled schools
The first chancellor of the new statewide special district for Michigan's lowest-performing schools could receive more than $1.5 million in salary and bonuses over his four-year contract, if he meets all performance targets.
John Covington, the departing superintendent of the Kansas City, Mo., School District, will be paid a $175,000 signing bonus and a $225,000 salary his first year as leader of the new Education Achievement Authority.
His base salary grows to $325,000 in the second year. And if he meets yet-to-be-determined goals, he could make more than $425,000 in each of the last two years of the contract.
As a comparison, the top salary for superintendents of the nation's largest districts ranged up to $329,000 last year, according to a study by the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools.
The contract raised the ire of activists and unions.
But Steve Wasko, a spokesman for Roy Roberts, the emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools and chairman of the EAA board, said the contract was necessary to attract "top talent to what may be the toughest job in the country."
Covington could not be reached for comment. For his first year, he will be paid $225,000 and collect a $175,000 signing bonus. The base salary increases to $325,000 the second year. For the last two years, he can make an incentive-compensation payment of $50,000 to $100,000 per year.
He's also eligible for a raise in years three and four.
The contract also includes a retirement plan with immediate vesting, a $15,000-per-year supplemental insurance allowance for life and disability coverage and an $800-per-month car allowance.
His first-year compensation and the EAA's initial planning year will be paid through a nonprofit, according to Sara Wurfel, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder. It's unclear what portion during that first year could come from taxpayers. Ensuing years will be funded by per-pupil state aid.
Henry Duvall, the council's communications director, said about a dozen large urban districts are looking for superintendents. "If you want the top person in the job, you've got to give some kind of incentive," he said.
Keith Johnson, president of Detroit Federation of Teachers, said the level of pay disturbs him, considering DPS employees have been asked to take pay cuts and make a "shared sacrifice." Source