Thursday, September 22, 2011

Salary wars: Superintendents vs. CEOs

Former CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman is on the cover of the most recent District Administration magazine as an example of the pay gap between head honchos in public school systems and private enterprise.

An article on the magazine's 11th annual salary survey leads with the fact that News Corp. "snatched two leading school district administrators to head its new education division"  --  Gorman from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Kristen Kane,  former chief operating officer of the New York City Department of Education.

The article notes that battles over superintendent pay are raging nationwide.  Expect to hear a lot of debate locally about what CMS should pay its next superintendent,  which the board plans to hire in spring 2012.  The salary survey won't provide a clear answer on the going rate for a district this size,  simply because there are so few  (CMS is the nation's 18th largest district,  according the data sheet with the Broad Prize).

The national average for 2010-11 was $161,992,  according to the survey,  but most of those are for much smaller districts.  "Salaries of more than $225,000 were seen in districts with enrollment levels of more than 25,000 students,"  the article reports.  CMS has about 138,000.  Gorman was making $267,150 when he left,  with an additional $30,000 in supplemental retirement pay and the option for a performance bonus up to 10 percent.

The District Administration article quotes Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Superintendents, on salaries in that range:  "An outlier for a salary may be $300,000 for large city school systems,  and there aren’t too many of those.  If we’re looking at $300,000 as the high end, that same person in the private sector leading a company of that magnitude would be making well over $1 million  --  that’s just a fact.”


Larry said...

Pay is a problem recruiting the right talent.

We have people on the school board who depend on the salary they are making as income.

In fact most people are not aware of the amount they make: Davis, Eric Chairman, Board Of Education Board Of Education $15,908.88 Details
Mcgarry, Kathryn Member, Board Of Education Board Of Education $12,237.48 Details
Merchant, Trent Member, Board Of Education Board Of Education $12,237.48 Details
White, Joe Member, Board Of Education Board Of Education $12,237.48 Details
Tate, Tom Member, Board Of Education Board Of Education $12,237.48 Details
Mcelrath, Richard Member, Board Of Education Board Of Education $12,237.48 Details
Waddell, Joyce Member, Board Of Education Board Of Education $12,237.48 Details
Morgan, Tim Member, Board Of Education Board Of Education $12,237.48 Details
Lennon, Rhonda Member, Board Of Education Board Of Education $12,237.48

And perhaps they have never even been paid or had a company that paid a salary in this range we need to pay a new Super.

So when you talk about hiring someone in this stratosphere they often become victims of class warfare or even worse envy.

We are going to have to pay for talent and ability. But we should not steal it as we have in the past.

We should hire talent from just under the top talent in other systems, or even talent we have here in Charlotte.

I would like to send out a proposal that says we want you to tell us how our schools should be structured and should be managed, what is your vision for CMS?

I do not want us as a board to create the monster and make somebody have to keep it from ravaging the town.

I want them to come in and create their vision, and want to be here for the next ten or twenty years as the boards come and go.

We need stability and innovation with new ideas, like more Charter Schools and same sex schools. Everything should be on the table to help the kids.

Including ideas like my donating my salary back to the schools.

Maybe others will be just as idealistic.

Matt M said...

Superintendents are Politicians not CEOs.

And, their contracts are structured to 'hide' salary under a variety of areas like $150,000 for personal development or $50,000 for discretionary purchases.

Wiley Coyote said...

Don't you think it's a tad disingenuous to discuss the paltry $300,000 salary of the Superintendent when teachers haven't had an increase in what, 3+ plus years?

Anonymous said...


You haven't a clue about how to find a superintendent. You actually believe that we just send out request for the best operating plan, not the best person?

Here’s what you wrote.

“..Class warfare or even worse envy?” That's an insult to this or any board.

"I don't want us as a board...," You ain’t there yet and not likely to ever be.

“..what is your vision for CMS..” CMS has a vision and a mission. CMS is looking for someone who can believe in it and lead. You have it all backwards.

"..same sex schools.." Gee why not go the whole yard a write same sexually oriented schools.

“..donate my salary back….” Don’t think you’ll have to worry about that.


Good Ol’ Eddith

Rev. Mike said...

Compare the pay for the CMS superintendent, the CEO of an 18,900 employee organization last I looked, with that of the Duke Energy CEO, also around 18,900 prior to the merger. One makes about $267K a year and the other makes about $6.5M a year. Just sayin'.

Larry said...

Thanks Edith.

If you like what you have seen and believe in the CMS "vision" please feel free to believe.

That is what has made our schools the recipient of this most present award and has endowed us with a 55 million dollar commitment from the business community for the West Side Schools all while calling ourselves an Urban system.

No need to change anything if that is the vision.

All the best.

Anonymous said...

CEOs are way overpaid. Period. They've seen their inflation adjusted compensations go up between 200-300% since 1980 while the average American's adjusted wages has risen a paltry 1-3%.

And you wonder why the Middle Class is slowly dying.

Larry said...

PS: Edith when I found talent, the person with the best plan, was the best person for the organization or position.

Wiley Coyote said...

"CEOs are overpaid"...

Barack, is that you?

democracy said...

Poor Larry. He suffers from the same myopia and misinformation as the Charlotte Observer editorial writer who penned the latest on the Board "prize,"

The editorial writer makes the fatuous claim that "CMS is viewed as innovative and progressive, with visionary, out-of-the-box leaders."  That can ONLY be true if putting  status quo corporate-style "reform" efforts on steroids is considered "innovative" or "progressive"  or "visionary." Those efforts –– consisting of more standardized testing, more charters and merit pay for teachers –– are all unsubstantiated and even refuted by research.  Only "out-of-the-box" fake "leaders" would pursue this kind of sloppy thinking and policy-making.

As Ann Doss Helms reported some months back, "The Broad Foundation has given CMS $3.3 million in recent years, most to help the district crunch data and test kids. For the second year in a row, CMS is being considered for the prestigious Broad Prize for Urban Education."  

See: http://www.charlotteobserver.c...

Given its investment in CMS, and the Broad Foundation's close ties with recently-departed superintendent Peter Gorman –– who now works for scandal-plagued Rupert Murdoch ––  it was only a matter of time before Broad proclaimed its ideas, and itself along with CMS, a "winner."  But authentic learning and public education are surely the losers.

Just what are the Broad Foundation's core ideas?  The central idea of the Board Foundation is that the "marketplace" should dictate education policy in the areas of "human capital, school choice and governance."  The Broad Foundation insists that "competition" and more testing and merit pay for teachers constitute the path to a competitive economy.  But research fails to support any of the “market” solutions offered up by Broad.  

The National Research Council (NRC) recently reported that standardized tests commonly used to assess student achievement “fall short “ in many ways.  Both the NRC study and research from Vanderbilt University confirm that merit pay (test-based “incentive” programs) doesn’t work.  The most comprehensive national study on charter schools found that “half had achievement results that were no better than regular public schools, and 37 percent had achievement results that were "significantly worse." 

 When the World Economic Forum dropped the U.S. from 2nd to 4th in its economic competitiveness ratings for 2010-11 it cited weak business “auditing and reporting standards,” declining “corporate ethics,” “repeated fiscal deficits,” and unsustainable public debt for the demotion.  All of these are direct results of conservative, supply-side, “market-based” policies. No wonder, then, that Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis likes them...and why they are bad not only for the nation but also its public schools.

People may celebrate the attention and the money that the Broad prize brings, but they’d be remiss ––  and wrong –– to think it’s an accurate reflection of quality education.

Quite the opposite.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 11:16..

You and the Democrats might want to look in a mirror regarding fiscal policies and debt.

This is 2011, not 2008 and the Democrats and Barack have been charting this course for two years, racking up more debt than all presidents combined.

Obama and his administration couldn't punch themselves out of a wet paper bag.

Furthermore, NC was run by Democrats for the last 100 years.

I agree with most of your assessment, but the last part belongs to everyone; Democrats and Republicans.

Julian Cuthbertson said...

I dont remember anyone criticizing how much high paid officials are paid until the nation hit hard times. People in leadership roles like Gorman manage around 150,000 students and staff. This is something 95% of people will never dream of doing. Yet someone is always complaiing.

You are paid when you manage on this level. He should have got this pay just off the peanut gallery criticism while he was moving this district forward

Wiley Coyote said...

There are 248,000 people in the US who make over a million per year. That's down from 323,000 in 2008.

Put that into perspective against 51% who pay no Federal taxes and many of those who actually MAKE money due to tax credits.

Those of you appalled about what Gorman or other CEOs make? Try looking at $1.5 BILLION overpaid in the school lunch program nationally and the large number of students within CMS who help contribute to that fraud.

WashuOtaku said...

Considering the size and scale of CMS and all the BS that is involved in it, anyone hired as School Superintendent should be paid well.

michael dock fowler said...

no mention of giving the gate-keepers a raise......I quess you become whatever you wish without the help of "the teacher". Education, as we know it today, is just a bunch of numbers being manipulated to suit the needs and justify the high wages of the wanna-be leaders. Please correct me...they really don't wanna-be, just the loot that comes with the polished title. God Bless us all, mdf.

jd said...

@Julian Cuthbertson - amen!

Anonymous said...

Just like CEO's, Gorman got bonus money on the back of the worker.Hell, he couldnt even teach a class in CMS.He did not qualify for a teaching license from the state.So he received the bonus for strategy and mission? The most he could do on the ground level was WALK through a classroom. You wonder why worker morale is bad? It is just the continuation of the loss of the middle class worker, private and public.

Fascists Go Home said...

Superintendents are in theory in it for the children and the larger society. A superintendent in it for the money should be thrown out of education. To compare a school system superintendent to corporate elite is like comparing a Shepard to a wolf. Any superintendent in it for the money must be a liar because he or she would never get hired telling that truth. CMS does not need greed at the helm.

Anonymous said...

4:50 He never set foot in ours during the school day but he sure had no problem accepting awards he had nothing to do with. Mr. Photo Op.

Anonymous said...

Julian, PR Pete moved us backward. If you want to look at the progress CMS has made then you must thank Jim Pughsley for what he instituted before he left office. It takes about 4-5 years for a super's plans to come to fruition and show their worth; that's about right now, buddy. CMS Senior Staff realizes this fact, why can't you?

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 7:59...

If we follow your timeline for success, then Bright Beginnings is WAY past the scuttle stage.

That farce of a program, initiated by a former Super back in the late 90's, is still sucking over $20 million down a black hole without any data to support it....

democracy said...

Wiley Coyote blames Democrats and Obama for debt problems. Now, Obama is not off-limits to criticism, and his Race to the Top education policy is a prime example of bad ideas. In fact, some have criticized Obama (rightfully) for, in essence, implementing a third Bush2 term for education.

The core ideas behind Race to the Top –– more standardized testing, more charter schools, merit pay for teachers based on test scores –– have little or no research foundation. What's worse, they also make up the core ideas of the corporate-style "reformers" like the Broad and Walton and Robertson and Arnold Foundations. And these foundations all promote a "free market" approach to public education; the fact is, they would dearly like to privatize it.

But their ideas hold no water. They do not improve authentic education, and in many cases undermine it. That's also true of those "free market" ideas when applied to national economic policy.

The vast majority of the current national debt accrued under Republican presidents pushing supply-side economic policies. After 12 years of Reagan and Bush1, the national debt more than quadrupled. Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy in 1993 without a single Republican vote – and balanced the budget multiple times and generated surpluses. Bush2 resurrected supply-side policy (tax cuts geared to the rich, laissez-faire regulations). Those policies aided and abetted fraud and corruption on Wall Street and in big bank boardrooms (and this includes Bank of America).

The 8 years of Bush2, including his two unfunded wars and unfunded Medicare plan, generated financial and mortgage implosions, millions of job losses, a broken economy, more than a doubling of the national debt, and trillions of dollars in unfunded obligations and debt down the road.

The people who pushed these stupid and damaging ideas and policies refuse to take any responsibility for them. Many of them even have the gall to blame public schools...and to demand that teachers be held
"accountable." There are far too many school board members and superintendents who are willing to play along.

It is no coincidence that Peter Gorman was Broad Academy-trained. Nor is it a coincidence that he departed to work for Rupert Murdoch...the owner of Fox fake news and the guy who hired former New York schools commissioner Joel Klein to oversee Murdoch's defense in the still-unraveling phone hacking scandal in Britain. Murdoch is circling the wagons, but his corporation's phone hacking was not limited to Britain. Nor does he wish to he held accountable.

All of this makes one wonder when more citizens will come to realize that the core idea of conservative economic ideology is to "proliferate the rich" at the expense of the general welfare of the country, and the central goal of conservative education policy is to privatize public education.

Both undermine severely the well-being of a democratic republic.

Larry said...

Democracy. You seem to have a lot of ideas of what does not work.

You also have a lot of missives about who is responsible and who should be responsible.

You also throw up a wall of them versus us mentality for some reason.

Then you present very flawed reasoning on the national budget.

Now with all of this, I still find myself asking, what is it you are trying to tell us is the solution?

As a person who has paid my taxes and volunteered in the Challenged Communities and Challenged Schools for the last ten years I have been in doing what I can.

I am tired of people who see the problems as everything being throw over the fence in their yard.

I am tired of people being told what is on the other side of the fence by somebody else when they should be looking to see for themselves.

What if the people throwing the mess over the fence are the same people telling you somebody else is throwing the mess over the fence?

Get to thinking for yourself folks, I became an independent years ago for just that reason. If it is in my yard I want to see where it came from and why.

Do the same for yourself folks. Don't take the word of me or one party or anyone, know the facts.

You can see what can happen from Democracy comments how far off base you can get.

Wiley Coyote said...


You might want to employ some reading comprehension skills and read what I wrote again in response to your first post.

My last sentence said:

I agree with most of your assessment, but the last part belongs to everyone; Democrats and Republicans.

therestofthestory said...

Whoever said CEO pay was justified? Sometimes, a CEO "inherits" a good situation. You ever heard the story of a department manager that over-ran his machines to increase output, ignored maintenance and thus was promoted on his numbers when in reality, the next manger inherited a mess?

I am glad at least in the company I work, the CEO pay is based on some real performance indicators and not just some blind money amount.

democracy said...

Larry says he is an independent” thinker. Je may be “independent” but he’s succumbed to the corporate-style propaganda. Larry extols the awarding of the Broad prize to CMS.

The central idea of the Board Foundation is that the "marketplace" should dictate education policy in the areas of "human capital, school choice and governance."  The Broad Foundation insists that "competition" and more testing and merit pay for teachers constitute the path to a competitive economy.  But research fails to support any of the “market” solutions offered up by Broad.  

In fact the “market” ideas that Broad pushes for public education are the very same ones that conservative presidents pushed for the last thirty years. Those supply-side economic policies piled up deficits, ballooned the national debt and broke the economy. That’s a matter of public record.

Larry calls it “flawed reasoning.”

So much for Larry being a “thinker.”

I appreciate the fact tha Wiley Coyote agrees with most of my earlier comment. I’m not sure what “last part” of my earlier post he disagrees with. Was it this part:

“When the World Economic Forum dropped the U.S. from 2nd to 4th in its economic competitiveness ratings for 2010-11 it cited weak business “auditing and reporting standards,” declining “corporate ethics,” “repeated fiscal deficits,” and unsustainable public debt for the demotion.  All of these are direct results of conservative, supply-side, “market-based” policies.”

Or was it this (about the Broad prize):

“People may celebrate the attention and the money that the Broad prize brings, but they’d be remiss ––  and wrong –– to think it’s an accurate reflection of quality education.”

The fact is that the Republican party’s core economic idea, reflected in everything they do and say, is also the central idea George Gilder espoused in his book Wealth and Poverty: achieving a successful economy is dependent on “the proliferation of the rich” and “to help the poor and middle classes, one must cut the taxes of the rich.” It’s what all the current Republican candidates are still saying. A host of Foundations –– Broad, Robertson, Arnold, Walton, for example –– push the same ideas, although they dress them up.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that “the first decade of the 21st century will go down in the history books as a step back for the American middle class.” Middle class incomes barely budged over the last thirty years and “from 2000 to 2010, they actually regressed.” And “the latest census report showing the poverty rate rose to a 17-year high.”

If Larry really thinks that state budget cuts and declining family incomes and increases in poverty don’t affect education and education policy, then perhaps he’d be interested in some nice ocean front property in Nebraska.

Wiley Coyote said...

I disagreed with your assessment this economic mess falls more heavily on conservatives and Republicans, to which I replied they are all responsible and that Democrats had control of this state for the past 100 years.

Furthermore, your comments on poverty mean nothing because as poverty relates to education, no one has a clue as to who these children of poverty are.

Government numbers on poverty are conflicting and when the one agency that oversees a $9 BILLION dollar program won't allow LEAs to conduct FULL audits of that program, that's a major problem.

The only "core economic principals" of the Democrat Party but people need to know only one and why they need to be removed from the White House: Income redistribution.

Larry said...

I must have have stepped into a parallel Universe for a second.

Someone feels I am pleased over the newest award CMS has received for pretending to be an Urban System.

Then they go on to attribute many other ideals to me that all based on flawed reasoning.

The major part being Draconian cuts to our school budget. If they could just explain that one to us with some verification from this dimension that would be most helpful.

If you need people who want excuses for why we can not do something, then I beg you to vote for them.

But if you want someone who knows that no excuses and education first and only education will work then we need to get busy.

So either work very hard for me or against me. The fact is I am not the last of my kind who will be running. Desperation and need will put many others on the slate, it all comes down to when you will accept the changes.

We can either go into the future as the other countries are doing and embrace it or we can stay mired and let the future drag us along at the absolute last minute when nothing else can happen. The choice is going to be up to us.

Even today Obama has announced No Child Left Behind is going by the wayside.

therestofthestory said...

It is incredible how much social and economic capital we are allowing one class of people to soak up.