Public flunks test-based raises

When students achieve high scores, Margaretta Schools officials could soon receive big bucks.
Alissa Widman Neese
Oct 25, 2013
A proposal to offer district administrators bonuses based on student test scores might not be too popular among community members, based on the uproar it caused at Monday’s school board meeting.

Administrators were expected to bring the proposal to board members Monday, but it never appeared on their meeting agenda.

Board members first tabled the decision in September, stating they needed more time to review it after administrators first suggested it.

A pair of concerned community members prodded board members Monday.

“It seems convenient that some board members are running for re-election and it’s taken off the agenda,” Lonnie Siesel said. “A lot of people are wondering what this means. Where does this money come from?”

Some board members said they were surprised the item wasn’t on Monday’s meeting agenda, because they assumed they were going to vote on it that night.

Superintendent Ed Kurt and treasurer Jude Hammond said they were holding off on voting again because the district’s finance committee hadn’t met to discuss the issue.

Kurt said he emailed board member Steve Rankin, the committee’s chairperson, about scheduling a meeting, but Rankin said he didn’t recall receiving an email.    

Additionally, administrator proposals to board members don’t need to go through the finance committee, Rankin said. “I was under the impression it was coming back tonight, too,” board member Kelly Kelble said.

The Register requested district emails Monday night regarding the issue, but the emails have not yet been provided.

Ultimately, board members delayed the decision until they meet again, which will be after the Nov. 5 election. Rankin and board member Elmer Lippert are among eight candidates vying for three available board seats.

Regardless of the timing, Siesel and district librarian Leslie Wiswell also questioned the overall message the policy would send to taxpayers and other district employees.

A contract finalized in September between Margaretta Schools administrators and teachers did not include such bonuses for teachers, they said.

“The teachers should be getting that money — they’re the ones preparing the kids to take the tests,” Wiswell said. “I haven’t had a raise in five years. Before you all get $5,000, can I maybe have $100?”

Board members haven’t yet determined how much an administrator’s bonus would be, despite circulating rumors, such as the $5,000 amount Wiswell mentioned, Kurt said. Margaretta Schools students scored highest in the area on this year’s statereport cards, earning six As and three Bs total.

The scores were among the highest of all 600 school districts in the state. About a month after the state released the report cards, administrators came to board members with the proposal for incentive-based bonuses. The payments are not uncommon in education.

For example, Perkins Schools superintendent Jim Gunner receives a $5,000 bonus if his district earns an “excellent” rating.

Danbury Schools superintendent Dan Parent also receives a $5,000 bonus for an "excellent" rating, but has opted to donate the funds toward student scholarships, according to his contract.

Note: This post has been modified to clarify inaccurate information regarding Danbury Schools superintendent Dan Parent's bonus.

Comments

Ziggy Rules

District administrators bonuses...WOW. How often do the administrators actually teach the students? I believe the bonuses should go to whom ever is deserving of it. Maybe the students who studied for the tests?

Kobayashi Maru

But not every kid passes the test? Then you'd be singling out those that did well. That's hurtful to those who tried hard and didn't pass. Isn't the new culture that everyone gets rewarded for participating?

Also, your comment is equivalent to Wal-Mart sending bonus checks to the customers to thank them for shopping there because they reached record profits. Don't think that will happen. You reward the workers, not the clients.

sandusky2012

I called Mr Kurt a couple of times and believe me he needs to be the first to go.... He is very unprofessional in all aspects expecially when concerned parents call....

indolent indiff...

Kurt is not the problem. Even when the times are good this negative, poison, back stabbing little community is. That's funny that the community can turn this achievement into a scandal, but look is doing the complaining......

Ithink

Where in the article did anyone equate this to a 'scandal', or for that matter, blame Kurt?

Centauri

Bonuses for expected work? They are already paid. Must be extra money that is not needed for the students. Waste money and then beg for more? Save that bonus money for the future needs of the students.

indolent indiff...

ithink: Sandusky2012 blamed Kurt.

takeastand

Yes and Ed Kurt is to blame! He truly believes he is entitled to a bonus for the hard work of the students and educators in the school system???? What a huge EGO you have King Kurt. Put the money back into the school system to reward the hard work of the students. Oh yes on another note, you need to get rid of the idiot football coach as well when he will only play 11 kids on the whole team! If you don't make changes you will continue to get the same crappy results. Losing to St. Mary's is an embarrassment! Oh Yeah let's give the football coach a bonus too!!

Ithink

indolent
"...this negative, poison, back stabbing little community"
"...but look (who) is complaining"
Those are pretty strong words for someone who supposedly is a 'supporter'.

pbfan85

Unless something has changed, Wiswell is an aide, not the district librarian. Aides are part of the OAPSE union.

http://www.margaretta.k12.oh.us/...

"I haven’t had a raise in five years." False, Mrs. Wiswell. You just got a raise 2 years ago.

Siesel and Wiswell...consider the source.

Ithink

Those sources are speaking up for what is fair and right for the STUDENTS in the district. What is so wrong with that?

takeastand

The "source" is correct! I guess you don't like the source because they bring to light what many people are afraid to say due to the backlash from King Kurt! Just because you want to bury yourself in the sand doesn't make the brave people who will actually speak up for the good of the school system and not just roll with the Good Ole Boys make them a bad "source". I truly hope the community will reflect on what this administration and board has doing for years and vote for change! Mark Bodey is stepping down (only because he will not win this time)and we need to vote Lippert (court Jester to Kurt) out!! Let's take OUR school system back!!

PolarBear24

On more than one occasion, I have seen comments on this site that suggested people should be paid on a merit basis. Governor Kasich suggests the same. And when Margaretta administrators bring the idea to their Superintendent the community acts like it is a terrible idea. Usually if this idea is offered to the union groups it is immediately cast aside as it does not provide additional pay for employees not pulling their weight.

Kobayashi Maru

I agree 100%! The posters on here will tell you they believe teachers should make $9 an hour and only get a bonus if every single one of their students passes the test.

However they are quick to cash their profit sharing checks when their company does well, even if they had nothing to do with the growth of the brand that year. Accountants at major companies get a profit-sharing check even though they did not help the company achieve goals throughout the year. No one complains about that.

princedenny

2 problems with this proposed bonus system:

1--Administrators, who earn more than the teachers, aren't the ones educating the students
2--Will they be willing to pay fines (say 50% of their salary) back to the district if the rating of "EXCELLENT" is not achieved?

Kobayashi Maru

Two problems with your statement:

1. Administrators are now being evaluated based on the performance of every student on the tests. Many administrators spend a lot of time getting researched-based materials to teachers so students can learn. Administrators don't sit in the office all day.

2. If the company you worked for did not meet their production goal or quarterly earnings are you willing to "pay a fine" of up to 50% of your salary?

princedenny

It's THEIR JOB to have excellent ratings!!! And considering most administrators make 100K plus, and a lot of teachers are making 70K+, I feel these bonuses, which would come from taxpayer money, are unnecessary.

Have you been paying attention to all the financial problems of so many school districts in the area?

From the Grave

As if these kids need to take on the pressure of doing well on tests so that Mrs. Teacher can buy her kid the new Play Station for Christmas...
This just proves my long standing belief that both teachers and administrators think that the school system is there for them and NOT for the students.

kal-el

You people are ridiculous. How many times have you heard "schools should run like a business" said by someone on here, or ripping unions for their pay scales? Then it gets proposed - not PASSED, mind you - PROPOSED, that they look at pay for performance -- and you idiots jump all over the Supt for an IDEA. Unbelievable. How many of you commentors actually have jobs??

From the Grave

I think teachers are grossly under paid, and I do have a job...do you need me to dig you a hole before the ground freezes?

kal-el

"This just proves my long standing belief that both teachers and administrators think that the school system is there for them and NOT for the students."

Then explain this ridiculous comment.

Informed

When the day comes that teachers have control over whether or not parents make sure their child does their homework, then a teacher's pay can be based on a student's performance.
Pay can be based on a teacher's performance--do they make appropriate lesson plans on time, do they instruct properly in the classroom, are assignments graded in a timely fashion and reflect the material appropriately, etc? Not how the students perform. But administrators are often too lazy or imcompetent to make sure teachers do their jobs. So, using test results makes it easier.

Ithink

I see two problems with this theory.
A) How can we be sure that the teachers (not all, but some) will not jack up the test scores, so that they can earn an extra buck or two?

B)Teachers' evaluations consist of a 'walk-thru' by the principal. Meaning, he walks through the classroom, maybe stays 3-5 minutes, then leaves. How does this small window of time lead to an accurate evaluation? Bring in outside teachers to spend one day with each teacher, then evaluate them. No bias there, either.