Friday, April 12, 2013

CMS performance pay: No money in sight

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has been talking about teacher performance pay for three years and counting,  but the 2013-14 budget plan doesn't include any money for making it happen  (the 299-page budget book is online now,  for anyone who wants to dive in).

Superintendent Heath Morrison told the school board that rewards for top performance won't be an effective recruiting tool until the state increases base pay.  For now,  the CMS crew is concentrating on lobbying legislators to go beyond the 1 percent raises proposed in Gov. Pat McCrory's budget. Morrison told me later that the worst-case scenario would be a state mandate to launch performance pay without any money to do it.

The studies of how to reward teachers  --  and eventually other CMS employees  --  will continue. The educators who have been studying the issue since last fall weren't able to make the March 1 deadline for submitting a plan to the state,  in part because the consultant they're working with hadn't returned a draft in time.  Morrison said this week that Battelle for Kids has since provided that draft, and the educators are using it to shape a plan that will eventually be shared with teachers,  the school board and the public.  "It is really important to me that they say, 'This plan reflects exactly what we were thinking,' "  Morrison said.

The next step is convening yet another compensation task force,  this one including a broader group of employees  (the current group of teachers will be invited to participate).  This one was one of 22 study groups Morrison announced last fall,  but he said it will run on a later timetable because of the overlap with the existing teacher panel.

Meanwhile,  the school board is grappling with merit pay for Morrison.  His contract calls for a performance bonus of up to 10 percent of his $288,000 base salary.  It says two-thirds of his  performance evaluation will be based on goals for CMS and one-third on individual goals set by the board,  with a decision made by Oct. 31.  Board Chair Mary McCray says the board has been discussing Morrison's goals in closed session  (they should eventually be approved in an open meeting).  I haven't been privy to those talks,  but I'm pretty sure they're facing at least one big challenge:  The test scores traditionally used to measure academic progress are in flux as new exams roll out this spring.  Results won't be released until October,  and even then it's going to be hard to compare them with previous years to determine whether Morrison's first-year efforts have helped students make academic gains.


Anonymous said...

Dubious quality in the never ending line of consultants never seems to stop the drain of even more funds. Late performance for consultant? No pay like the real world?
Based on the fifth grade quality of the survey, they deserve to be eliminated for any future compensation, period.

Anonymous said...


Unless the base pay is increased and there is money from someplace other than Meck County this is a dead issue.

Oh, and they have been studying this issue for years. Just as Chris Cobits and Andy Baxter.

Ettolrahc said...

A recent story about companies dropping health care coverage and allowing folks to go on to the government, tax payer, paid plan, showed that companies are having it rough.

While that has nothing to do with this story on Teachers, I am sure folks just wanted to understand how compensation is not just the salary today.

BruceWayne said...

When you are the CEO there are no personal goals. There are only organization goals

Anonymous said...

Paying teachers according to their job performance and not according to their seniority is what education reformers are trying to do across the country.

For Pete Gorman, trying to institute performance pay was what got the former teachers in the board of education angry. After many months of being grilled by the BOE about how he could measure teachers' job performance, Gorman knew his agenda was too dead. So he quit.

Heath Morrison is no reformer and reflects the changing of the guard. Morrison has no interest in paying teachers according to how well they do their jobs. This is a silly statement to make, but it's the truth.

Pay for performance is dead. Long live pay-for-days-on-the-job. What more would you expect when the former teacher's union boss is now the chair of the Mecklenburg County board of education?

Anonymous said...

But at least teachers in CMS and all of NC can celebrate the NC Legislature just passing the bill to allow the NFL Panthers and its billionaire whiner Richardson at the prodding of idiot mayor cronie Foxx to demand 300 million for stadium improvement for pampered spoiled rotten mega millionaire extortionist dumb jock "pro" players.

Afterall Richardsons infamous ex-felon 3 time college dropout cheat qb "pay for play" Newton who "graduated" from Atlanta schools where 35 top administrators were just charged for felony cheating to change test scores, only made a lousy 27 million in 2012 with endorsements. Crime pays. Others like unk DE Charles Johnson made 35 million in 2011. The list is unending.

The "education promoting" CO has hyped and pumped these dumb jock scammers turning them into school role models. Too funny.

And then there's the 500 million TW Arena paid for by local taxes that owner Jordan gets rent free while making 60 million in his endorsements annually.

Richardson made 50 million in 2012 gave his loser team a 400 million salary increase in 2011 when he lead the NFL owners to end the players union strike for 10 billion extra.

Meanwhile tv cable bills go up twice a year with everything else to pay all the bills and make all the pro athletes rich and famous while public school teachers in NC get ZERO raises.

Good to see the CO and its elected cronies have their priorities in order since it would be be so terrible to lose these sorry pro sports teams and overpaid spoiled brats who strut and prance like homos up and down the field with tattoos and piercings etc living in multi-million dollar condos or hanging out at topless bars.
Some even play the piano. How sweet.

Meanwhile teachers get nothing but lip service from the media while food, clothing, gas, insurance, medicals, rent, mortgage payments, etc goes up up up ....

And 17 trillion red ink Obama has overspent 7 trillion in 4 years or more than 230 yrs of America but not a penny for teachers yet he supports public education? What a crock.

Taxpayers fleeced by the phony lib politicians and lying media outlets more interested in zillionaire dumb pro jocks than paying teachers their worth.

Teachers who started 5 yrs ago at 30,000 still make 30,000 annually.

Anonymous said...

7:43- There have not been and still are no teacher unions in North Carolina.

As for Gorman, no- teachers were not upset about the concept of pay for performance. They were upset about the quality of his plan (there was no way it could be implemented fairly) and the fact that he snuck his bill past the school board to Ruth Samuelson.

Pay for performance is by no means dead. It will happen when all the details are ironed out. I've met with senators about this issue myself. Have you?

Not sure if you got your information from unreliable sources or if you just made it all up, as many people who post about the school system do.

Anonymous said...


Economies all across the globe are adjusting to competition.

Formerly wealthy countries in the West are adjusting downward while the upstart economies in Asia are moving up.

It's something we really haven't had to deal with as much as others in the past, but it is catching up with us.

After all, it's been over 3 generations since we won WWII.

The rest of the world is catching up with and even surpassing our temporary lead from that.

So, of course, we can expect a bit of stagnation.

If it happened to Japan and Europe, then why not to us?

Anonymous said...

Dont forget about that surprise IRS tax increase payroll deduction Obama sprung on the middle class 3 months ago that he lied about and still refuses to discuss.

Anonymous said...


You meant to say "reflect what they, the teachers, we're thinking", didn't you?

Lip service.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:00am.

Yeah, but what would Rome be like without its gladiators?

More stadiums and more lions are what we need.

Anonymous said...

...let's buy ipads!

Ann Doss Helms said...

8:24, that's exactly what he was saying -- he wants a document that reflects what the teacher study group thinks, not what consultants or administrators are imposing.

Anonymous said...

Big difference. Gladiators were unpaid and losers were killed on the spot and fed to hungry lions for entertainment during intermission with peasants non-pagans or irregular plebes.
Rome had a great system to emulate today. Taxes wouldn't be so high either.

Anonymous said...

Stop the foolishness and the political witch hunts. Get back to a reasonable salary scale. Fire bad teachers and pay teachers on a scale they've been able to plan around for years. Stop the economic roller coaster for teachers! Classroom quality is going to plummet unless micro management, foolish policy decisions, and economic repression of educators ends. We're going to LOSE our best and brightest!

Anonymous said...

Not To defend Heath ,because I don't like him. Heath has nt been in CMS long enough to have a effect on this grade cycle. It around 5 months since the tool landed. These current numbers would dictate the interm bozo had produced not Heath. It is also great to see the testing results won't be out until the next school year has started . I mean this is a issue when kids should be held back??? It's a poor system and its run even poorer.

Anonymous said...

As an upper level administrator told me, "You picked a good time to leave," and that wasn't a reflection of my student's scores, my performance, or years of service. NC continues its wayward march past mediocrity into the educational and leadership cesspool.

8:05-Agreed on PfP but after watching both CMS and DPI game the system on test scores for the last decade both up and down before score releases, one would have to have a high level of distrust for the system. I hope you continue to teach successfully in the garden of Catch 22, CYA, and nebulous paperwork to justify someone making twice as much as you occupy an office for a once a year walk around.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:17.

Lots of misconceptions about gladiators out there...

They weren't mostly slaves and criminals or killed on the spot.

They were actually more like professional athletes than you might think.

Anonymous said...

Ann, You should also write about tenure. What is Morrison's policy on tenure. It's very difficult and expensive to fire a teacher regardless of performance. What is Morrison's position on this problem?

I suspect Morrison would be against any substantive tenure reform, except for maybe newly hired teachers.

Anonymous said...

The only ones who should be getting raises are the ones who work directly with the customer - the student. End of story.

BolynMcClung said...

ANON 1:03pm isn't correct.

All jobs in education are important and productive. Actually the most important task is keeping our children safe.

Last year I was at an elementary school around 7:15am. A student who lived in the neighborhood had walked to school because his mother had been called-in to work early.

I sat on one bench. The student in the other seat across from me. It wasn't too long before the custodian walked-by. He knew the kid. Knew it was too early. He ask the student questions and made sure of the situation.

Over the next 15 minutes the custodian came by a number of times to check. I guess maybe the man looked at me, being a stranger, as a can never tell.

If the custodian doesn't qualify for a raise, then no one does.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Ann I think you need to do some research on this because what you have shared in this article is not factually correct. I was on the compensation committee. I talked at an open public meeting about this work (to which other district teachers supported our vision- Ann, you were there and witnessed that). I have been a part of this from the beginning. The consultants put together OUR plan- not theirs. It represented everything we, the teachers, worked on for months. Our last meeting with Batelle was Feb. 12 and they promised a document by Feb. 19. They then sent that document on Feb. 19 to the district. But rather than share, the district withheld it from us! For weeks! We asked the district for it but they would not hand it over as we wanted to all meet to finalize it for the March 1 deadline. Some people even discussed putting in an open records request. Then at the board meeting a week later we still did not have it. Not because it was not done but because we were not allowed to see it. The Superintendent stood up at the board meeting and said the plan was done on time but that we - the TEACHERS- would see the final write up first. Then, again, we did not get a copy that night (like Dr. Morrison promised publicly), the next day, or even that week! So Dr. Morrison lied.

I am proud of our work. It is sad that MY district leaders have to blatantly lie and throw other people who did their job (like the compensation committee and Batelle) under the bus. It is more upsetting that my hard work will again go unnoticed and disregarded by the administration. I'm seriously considering leaving the district because of this.

I think I am going to approach the Board personally due to the lies that have been told here.

Wiley Coyote said...


Now you know why people of my mindset don't trust any educrat as far as we can throw them or any data/information coming out of Project LIFT.

Keep hammering at them.

Wiley Coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Your story rings true for every CMS school I've worked in. Custodians and front office do so much for so little and are the first line of defense, and the punching bags for parents, supervisors, and teachers. It's no wonder they have to work so much overtime( if they can get it.)

Anonymous said...

Actually your mindset Mr. Coyote, minus some of the other issues, coincides with most teachers general opinion of those folks on the educrat ladder as well.

Ann Doss Helms said...

2:54, that is interesting! It was definitely my understanding that Battelle was charged with compiling the ideas that your group submitted, not with writing its own plan. I remember the presentation at the Feb. 26 meeting as a strange one, because the tone was celebratory -- "Yay, we've had such a great process!" -- and the "We're not going to meet the March 1 deadline" message was kind of slipped in. I definitely recall Heath Morrison saying the work group and all teachers needed to see the plan before it went to the state. But my memory is that he either said he had not yet seen the Battelle draft or said he had gotten it that day without time to look at it before the meeting. The whole thing seemed odd because everyone had known all along that y'all were working toward the March 1 deadline.

If you want to talk about this more, please give me a call, 704-358-5033.

Anonymous said...

Another year of smoke mirrors dogs ponies and damn lies statistics.

On and on and on. More surveys and consultants and tests and whatever else they can think about spending millions of dollars on without the frontline teacher getting a dime.

Another survey today to find out how the district can improve my morale. I just want to puke!

See you next year Union County

Anonymous said...

No money in sight and the only thing left is sight of my backside leaving this county for Northern Virginia. Just increased my salary by at least $20,000 WITH benefits.

Anonymous said...

A good post today in Huffington Post. I know how much many of you despise this news service but please read this article.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:22.

Good article. Yep. That's why I don't let my kids go to school with the bottom-feeding thug population and their offspring.

As I say, the best solution for many of our "social ills" is to just move away from the problem.

Quarantine the "disease" for which there is no cure.

Go to schools that work.

Anonymous said...

10:17, I can agree with you on some point. But I doubt you pay a high tax bill in the state of NC. You cannot just run. From the problem as a grown up leader. Try to help us fix the problem that CMS is.

Wiley Coyote said...


As long as diversity, income, race and zipcode are the driving principles of public education, nothing will change.

CMS is the pertrie dish and the kids are their experiments to be inoculated with mindless educrat BS.

Project LIFT is petrie dish 101.

Anonymous said...

Teachers and families, either accept it, change it or move away from it.

Anonymous said...

Lots of shenanigans going on with that Compensation Committee...

Would serve you well to investigate deeper, Ann.

Maybe get a copy of the plan??

Anonymous said...

Anon April 13, 2013 at 1:19 PM,

Yeah, you're right.

I pay as little in NC taxes as I can.

Mostly for the rental property I own. But my renters help ease that burden.

However, for my own children, I prefer living south of the border where we have less thug-infested schools.

That way I don't have to pay extra for private schooling to get away from them.

And I supplement what my child learns through my own tutoring.

But, whatever works best for you.

Personally, I wouldn't waste my energy or money trying to "fix" CMS.

It's not going to happen, so just pick the best CMS school you can and live near it and supplement best you can, pay to go elsewhere, or move (as I have).

Fix your own situation before trying to "fix" CMS.