School & District Management

Principals Approve New Contract In N.Y.C.

By Alan Richard — February 02, 2000 3 min read

New York City principals and assistant principals have agreed to trade in some of their long-standing job security for substantial pay raises, setting the stage for a new era of school management and accountability in the nation’s largest school district.

The contract ratified Jan. 20 by members of the Council of Supervisors and Administrators allows district administrators more direct supervision and speeds the process for removing low-performing principals and assistant principals.

Donald Singer

Union and district leaders hailed the announcement of the new contract for administrators, who have been without one for four years. The agreement represents “an agenda that is right for our system,” said Donald Singer, the president of the 3,700-member union.

It helps “establish a rational managerial and accountability system” between principals and supervisors in the 1.1 million-student district, said Lewis H. Spence, the system’s deputy chancellor for operations.

Though the union’s membership approved the contract by a 2-1 ratio, some principals are raising questions about the new system, which some say ends tenure as they once knew it.

The contract raises most principals’ pay by 33 percent, but requires them to work 12-month schedules with five weeks of vacation rather than the previous 10-month schedule with an extended break. The new calendar and slightly longer workdays will allow principals and some assistants to be paid extra for operating summer schools, Saturday academies, and after-school programs.

Comparable Salaries

High-achieving principals, as determined by performance reviews, could qualify for raises of up to 70 percent, lifting some salaries above $100,000. The agreement also allows the chancellor to offer raises at his discretion for strong job performance.

The average New York City principal’s salary is about $75,000, and will rise to more than $95,000 under the new contract, according to the Council of Supervisors and Administrators.

“We are now back to being competitive with the suburbs,” Mr. Singer said. “I do believe the exit to the suburbs is going to slow down and maybe turn around.”

In exchange for higher pay, principals face more direct scrutiny. Low-achieving principals could face swifter removal if they fail to meet specific goals. Appeals will be heard by an arbitrator within 60 days for principals and 150 days for assistant principals—a process that in the past has in some cases taken years.

The state education commissioner is the final level of appeal.

Some administrators fear that the pact’s new accountability methods could be used against principals for political or personality reasons as well as job performance.

“If it’s abused, we’re back to the same confrontations we had before,” Mr. Singer said. “It has to be used appropriately, expeditiously, and is not to be seen as a document that will be abused.”

Jesse Lazarus, the principal of the 1,200-student East New York High School of Transit Technology, a technical-career school in Brooklyn, said he was concerned about how the contract would be implemented.

“The principals have given an awful lot to the system,” he said. “What we deserve is a fair process.”

District leaders, however, believe strong principals will only benefit from the plan, Mr. Spence said. The contract “reflects confidence in the great majority of principals that they can meet the challenge in making the change,” he said. “They’ll more than survive. They’ll flourish.”

The contract extends through March 2001, and is retroactive to February 1996. Principals will receive limited back pay in a series of payments throughout the year.

Negotiations are scheduled to begin soon on the next principals’ contract, while teacher-contract talks between the district and the United Federation of Teachers are just getting under way. Accountability measures in the principals’ agreement may have some influence on the contract negotiations with the American Federation of Teachers affiliate, Mr. Singer said.

A version of this article appeared in the February 02, 2000 edition of Education Week as Principals Approve New Contract In N.Y.C.


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.
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
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.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

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

School & District Management 'You Can’t Follow CDC Guidelines': What Schools Really Look Like During COVID-19
All year, some teachers have said that enforcing precautions to slow the spread of the virus in classrooms can be nearly impossible.
13 min read
Guntown Middle School eighth graders walk the halls to their next class as others wait in their assigned spots against the wall before moving into their next class during the first day back to school for the Lee County District in Guntown, Miss on Aug. 6, 2020.
Eight graders walk the halls on the first day back to school in Guntown, Miss., on Aug. 6, 2020. Teachers in several states told Education Week that since the beginning of the school year, enforcing precautions such as social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has been nearly impossible.<br/>
Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP
School & District Management Opinion School Reopening Requires More Than Just Following the Science
Educators can only “follow the science” so far. Professional expertise matters too, writes Susan Moore Johnson.
Susan Moore Johnson
5 min read
Illustration of school and bus
School & District Management Why Teacher Vaccinations Are So Hard to Track
Teachers can now get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there’s no way of knowing how many are currently inoculated against the virus.
6 min read
Image of a needle and vaccine bottle.
School & District Management Do Teachers Have to Disclose Their Vaccination Status? Experts Weigh In
Experts answer four pressing questions about teachers, privacy, and COVID-19 vaccines.
3 min read
Vaccine record.
Bill Oxford/iStock/Getty