Education

Cincinnati Links Administrators’ Pay, Performance

By Ann Bradley — January 25, 1995 4 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Cincinnati administrators’ pay raises will be based on how well they do their jobs, under a new policy announced last week by the school district.

The pay-for-performance program, under development for two years, is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation for school administrators. It abolishes automatic cost-of-living adjustments and the traditional salary schedule, which paid administrators according to their years of service and academic credentials.

Instead, annual raises for the district’s 250 central-office administrators, principals, and assistant principals will be determined, in part, by whether they meet specific goals for student performance at the school and district level.

Under the new plan, administrators’ annual raises will be based on:

  • Their performance of tasks required for their jobs, including financial management, staff development and management, and school and community involvement;
  • Students’ scores on national and district standardized tests and on the Ohio proficiency test required for graduation; and
  • Graduation, promotion and passing, and dropout rates.

The new system forms part of the 51,000-student district’s ongoing effort to revamp its business and management practices. The restructuring was sparked by a business commission’s 1991 report that has served as a blueprint for change in the Cincinnati schools.

“All employees need to be accountable for results,” Superintendent J. Michael Brandt said in announcing the pay program. “By rewarding and recognizing administrators for their efforts and results, I believe that students will reap the ultimate benefits.”

Equity Measures

To make the system fair, schools will be judged against their own past performance, not against other schools. The district also plans to make adjustments for student mobility when calculating improvements in test scores.

When looking at California Achievement Test scores, for example, the district will only count scores for students who have been present since the beginning of the school year.

The program, devised with the help of a consulting firm, establishes a new pay structure based on the work performed in the job and the marketplace pay rate for similar work.

Central-office administrators’ pay was set at average levels for the marketplace, while the pay for principals and assistant principals was set slightly above the market to reflect the district’s emphasis on school-based improvement.

Under the new system, about 15 employees will have their salaries frozen because they earn more than the new classification system recommends, according to Monica Curtis, the district’s public-affairs director. Another 10 to 20 employees, mostly elementary assistant principals, will receive raises.

Over all, the pay plan is not expected to cost more money. Each year, the school board will approve a pot of money to be used for merit pay. The district’s human-resources department will develop guidelines for distributing that amount based on the district’s budget, administrators’ scores on their appraisals, and the raises the market is paying workers in similar jobs.

Emphasis on Training

Cincinnati officials stressed that the new system will focus on helping administrators improve their performance.

During the year, administrators will meet with their supervisors to discuss progress, develop plans for action, and evaluate their own performance. That process will be repeated each year. Administrators who are having problems with particular aspects of their jobs are expected to receive help at the district’s training academy.

“The idea is that if someone is deficient in an area, then they can be given training and development to raise their skills,” Ms. Curtis said.

W. Steven Ottemann, the vice president of the district, said the emphasis on “performance management” would allow administrators to develop in their jobs.

Under the old system, administrators received brief evaluations each January. About 90 percent of them received good reviews.

Henri Frazier, the president of the Cincinnati Association of Administrators and Supervisors, called the pay plan an “exciting concept and very different.”

“We are extremely supportive of an accountability system for all employees,” she said.

The district took steps toward greater accountability for teachers last spring, when it reached a contract with the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers that more closely links teachers’ pay to performance and includes more frequent evaluations. (See Education Week, 06/22/94.)

Paul Houston, the executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, said Cincinnati’s pay plan sounded unique.

The decision to expect schools to improve over their own past performance, rather than measure up to a set standard, “makes a great deal of sense,” Mr. Houston said. “That’s clearly the way to go with something like that.”

He cautioned, however, that administrators must be given adequate resources to make the improvements expected of them.

A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 1995 edition of Education Week as Cincinnati Links Administrators’ Pay, Performance

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Tiny Wrists in Cuffs: How Police Use Force Against Children
An investigation finds children as young as 6 and a disproportionate amount of Black children have been handled forcibly by police officers.
15 min read
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP