Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sorting out CMS teacher performance-pay dollars

At last night's school board meeting, Kaye McGarry sparked debate when she unsuccessfully tried to use the board's 2011-12 budget request as a vehicle for shelving Superintendent Peter Gorman's controversial teacher performance-pay plan. She asked that local dollars supporting performance-pay be diverted to save teaching jobs.

But along the way, the question of what exactly CMS spends on performance pay became a bit confusing. McGarry gave the Observer and other board members a copy of her motion. It had attached to it several budget charts she said she got from the staff. One chart said CMS' performance pay effort will cost $1.26 million in 2011-12, including $451,879 in local money.

When Rhonda Lennon asked if that was the right number for local performance-pay dollars, Gorman said it didn't include local money being spent on another performance pay project, the federal TIF-LEAP pilot. McGarry pointed to another chart accompanying her motion. That one listed $3 million as the amount of local dollars CMS will spend on TIF-LEAP in 2011-12. After a few minutes of back-and-forth questioning in which Gorman struggled to make sure he understood what McGarry was defining as performance-pay, the superintendent said TIF-LEAP and the $451,879 project were part of performance-pay. He said they together would cost about $3.5 million in local dollars.

Got all that straight? I didn't last night. I used the $1.2 million figure in my story, accidentally conflating it with both McGarry's chart and a $1.25 million figure in CMS' formal 2011-12 budget plan. (That figure's actually tied to the new performance-pay tests the school system is creating. Confusing, indeed).

CMS is running a number of projects focused on increasing teacher effectiveness and testing the concept of performance-pay. Many are supported by separate grants, separate pots of money. It gets pretty hard, even for board members and reporters, to stay on top of it all.


Anonymous said...

But we are supposed to just trust them that the right thing is being done with all the money!? Ludicrous, confusing, and controversial, indeed!!!

Anonymous said...

I was there last night, and it looked to me as though Dr. Gorman was only APPEARING to struggle to determine exactly what Ms. McGarry was asking-he always tries to put her down in the meetings. I think he was just avoiding having to give a straight answer to a straight question.

Anonymous said...

The money is not nearly as appauling as the overall inept organization of The PFP Team. For example, my first grade son's school will not have any Art, Music, PE, Tech., or other "special" classesfor the next 4 weeks because those teachers are being required to cover regular ed. teacher classes while "testing for Data not grades" take place. I know I Know some will say who needs that enrichment they should spend more time doing the 3 r's...problem is those teachers are forced to administer "testing" while the other teachers try to organize activities for the other kids who are not testing ( 1 kid takes 30 to 40 minutes a piece to test). At the High School level teachers are being required to end instruction 10 days before exams to begin to administer "Summatives" instead of spend those 10 days reviewing for exams. At this point the money is already spent (what ever dollar amount downtown gives us is a lie) now it is about man hours and the diminishing value of classroom instruction due to all this testing. Beyond thes 2 issues are hundreds of other aspects of education at any given school that these clowns overlook. At WHAT POINT DOES THE BOE get all the facts. Simply relying on Dr. Gormon and his cronies for information has proven to be at best opaque rather than transparent.

Anonymous said...

ONE THING THAT HAS NEVER BEEN SOLVED IN CMS, IS THE FACT THAT CLASSROOM TEACHERS AND STUDENTS PAY THE PRICE FOR INEPT Staff downtown and BOE members. Funding is continually limited and cut because these 2 bodies prove year in and year out that they can ruin ANYTHING good in our classrooms.

Anonymous said...

...and some people say I'm crazy for pointing out the fact educrats are inept at running our schools, don't have a clue as to what goes where and being paid by what bucket of money producing X results.

It's a shell game people, designed to make you believe these "Drs. of Education" know what they are doing.

Many are supported by separate grants, separate pots of money. It gets pretty hard, even for board members and reporters, to stay on top of it all.

Great job Gorman and BOE. Keep throwing money at it, maybe one day in the next century you might get a clue.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Gorman needs to be careful. The tides are turning on him. The votes now five to four. All it is going to take is one to turn Pete and then what. I would be very careful to not be rude to your bosses. One of those times, the other five are going to realize that they could be next. Their questions are legitimate. Your belief that you are smarter than them is going to bite you on your rear.

Anonymous said...

Watched the comedey show last night and once again the Board has failed our children. To the 4 Board members who voted to pause PfP kudos to you. To the 5 who voted against your time is limited, you refuse to hear your parents, children & teachers. You insist that this is the "right" thing to do. Well the right thing to do is VOTE all of you out !! You work for the taxpayers they don't work for you. You seem to forget that.

Anonymous said...

How can we be cutting 700 teachers and begging the county for more $ when CMS continues to pay phys ed teachers 60, 70 and even $ 80,000?

Anonymous said...

Pete referred to the HR Dept as the office of human capital last night...Broad virus anyone? The new HR head called teachers "the talent".

Looks like the teachers are just as unseen and unacknowledged as parents and students are by Pete and the majority of the Board of Education.

Students are widget, teachers are assembly line workers, and parents and the community at large are just background noise.

part-time teacher said...

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The PT stands for part-time.

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Instructor, Surgical Technology
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PT Theater Events Coordinator
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PT Lab Assistant II Simulation and Gaming
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PT Instructor CCE Yoga
Req. # 1637

Instructor, Computer Engineering Technology
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PT Instructor Paralegal Technology
Req. # 1636

PT Facilitator Collegiate Prep Test – SAT Prep (Math)
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PT Lab Asst II (Greenhouse, Nursery and Turf Management)
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PT Lab Assistant II Networking/Security
Req. #1639

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Metropolis, Brazil, Animal Farm,Triumph of the Will, Seven Samurai, and innumerable forewarnings in film and literature of Pete's "Human Capital." The virus is replicating.

part-time teacher said...

Speaking of pay, if you're going to publish the pay of all public employees (CMS, UNC, etc.), everyone but community colleges--too many part-timers I guess--and then publish the names of CMS employees who have recently received lay-off notices, then why can't you publish the multiple Observer employees who have been laid off recently? Why can't you publish salaries for Observer employees, when you have opinion editors who write two columns a month and can afford to pay $5K to play in a golf tournament?

Anonymous said...

Agreeing with commenter at 4:29 p.m. My children will miss art, music and even weekly time with the TD teachers, which is the most valuable hour of the week.

My third grader has done nothing in school since he returned from Spring Break except review for the EOGs.

Both schools that my children attend are still begging for proctors for all of the various tests because they already do not have enough employees to proctor tests.

How much worse will this be next year with summative tests deciding pay, no assistants in K-3, fewer teachers and other employees in the actual schools? Students will not learn anything new the entire 4th quarter.

I intend to vote against every school board member I can who did not join the effort to stop these ridiculous money and time wasting tests.

Anonymous said...

The Broad Virus in full effect. 1.This pattern of discriminatory firings (Chicago) and school closings. In Seattle Broad Superintendent closed five schools to allegedly save $3.5 million a year only to announce seven months later reopening of five schools at a cost of $48 million… Was fired by school board . (CMS Board member pointed out how the cost to convert has already exceeded the savings). 2.hiring of both a chief academic officer and a testing and evaluation specialist are right out of the Broad Superintendents Academy playbook. Worchester, NY. (another CMS Broad administrator introduced last night hired to talk for Gorman). The Broad foundation obvious has little faith in it’s pupil Pete Gorman. He just can not seem to close the deal. He does not have a Teacher’s Union to deal with, his board is dumb as dirt! Maybe this is why he never receives the Broad award. But CMS has too much valuable property and tax payers money to collect to just walk away.

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that many long time teachers and administrators truly believe that if we leave things the way they are and spend more money that we will educate more children at a higher level. It is my belief that money is not the only answer. There are lousy teachers and they need to be evaluated and escorted into another profession. We also truly need to know what level kids are on and the only way to do this is to test. Our public education system has honestly not improved in 30 years doing things the same ole way. But, when we try things differently, there is enormous push-back. When we were flush with cash, I heard the same, exact complaints against CMS/Administrators/Board. Now that we are totally a county, state and country, Gorman and company are doing the best they can under the circumstances to reform the system...yes, and that includes performance pay and "pulling pots of money" from different sources.

Anonymous said...

The printed Observer article did not list who exactly the board members were that voted for or against McGarry regarding pay for performance. We need to know who to vote off the board when the time comes. Please name the names.

Anonymous said...

Please find out how many schools and which ones will be without media specilists next year. We parents need to know which schools value our libraries and librarians, and which ones cut their media specialist. I do not want a minimum wage earner to be responsible for all the valuable books and equipment. And much less in charge of helping guide my little ones down the path to a love of reading - or hating it - and exploring all the useful information in libraries. It is unthinkable that there will be no librarian at their school next year. The principals that fired their librarians should be the ones that got the ax.

Anonymous said...


Where did CMS get the funds to add biometric time clocks to every school? All hourly employees (at least at the school level) must use their fingerprints to clock in and out. What was wrong with the last system or a less expensive system of signing in via computer? I cannot imagine the cost and for how many employees - cafeteria, custodians, assistants (if any of these people will survive the cuts) and secretaries.

Also, Gorman is so excited to go to 10 hour work days during the summer and at what cost! He saves money, but families with small children must find someone to help with child care because the law only allows children to be in daycare 10 hours a day. A parent that must use daycare must work 10 hours a day.

And the custodians are forced to work without air conditioning. They are stripping floors, cleaning carpets, scrubbing classrooms, and waxing floors in hot classrooms. I bet Pete is cool in his office!!