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The Deets: Minneapolis Public Schools Administrators Underpaid According to Minneapolis Public Schools Administrators’ Study

Corey Mitchell reports in the StarTribune that Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent, Bernadeia Johnson, kicked $270k to her administrative staff after reading a report suggesting that they were paid less than comparable administrators in other districts.

I found this sentence particularly interesting:

The pay hikes, retroactive to July 2010, were paid out in lump sums.

What would suggest that Bernadeia Johnson thought her staff was being underpaid at the time they awarded Don Allen a $15,000 contract for truly horrible marketing consulting work.

It’s also the same administration that took more than 4 months to respond to a requests for information from reporters regarding the contract awarded by the MPS.

This is the same administration that didn’t think that $270,000 in salary increases was important enough of a topic to deserve school board approval.

If you’re going to compare the salaries of senior administrative staff to other districts, shouldn’t you also compare the quality of their work?

This part was also interesting:

The raises followed a compensation study by Public Sector Personnel Consultants of Tempe, Ariz., that found that 75 percent of Minneapolis district employees are compensated above market. The same report indicated that 38 percent of senior management was found to be more than 5 percent below the average for people working similar jobs in other school districts. Those employees received checks this summer, [School district spokesman Stan] Alleyne said.

The decision to pay out more than a quarter million dollars was “done out of fairness,” Alleyne said.

Did Supt. Johnson request month back from the 75% of Minneapolis district employees who are being compensated above market? You know, “out of fairness” as Stan Allyne puts it. It sounds like the administration hired a company that ran a study concluding that the administration is nearly the only underpaid group in the entire district. That’s convenient. It’s even more convenient that they were able to find the money to solve the issue the study they funded identified.

This post was written byEd Kohler and originally published onThe Deets. Follow Ed on Twitter:@edkohler

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Jerry Von Korff on 07/25/2011 - 09:31 pm.

    The procedure followed here raises a number of questions. Generally, in Minnesota, a school board must approve the creation of a position, the appointment to the position, and the pay for that position. Second, the damage inflicted on the standing of the board and administration both, when these decisions are not made by the board, is damaging to children. Its just not a good idea. Any compensation increase for administrators subjects the district to ridicule, but if the pay is fair to the district and to the employees, then the leadership of the board and the leadership of the district need to step up to the plate and approve it transparently. Nothing is more harmful to a district than creating the impression that administration can write itself a blank check.

    We like to think that educators and boards are putting children first, but adopting compensation changes in this way inflicts huge damage to the credibility of the district and undermines any possibility of convincing the public that it is justified.

    If the compensation is justified, the administration should ask the elected board to endorse it, and the board should engage in public due diligence before approving.

    Third, there is a particular problem with approving pay retroactively. The employee has agreed to work for X dollars, and having made that fair exchange, is paid X plus Y dollars, without the public receiving anything in exchange.

    The decision of the administration suggests either a benign neglect of the credibility of the role of the board of education, or alternatively a board of education that prefers to abdicate its responsibility to make hard decisions and green lights its administration to approve its own pay increase, so that the board will not be seen as responsible.

  2. Submitted by Bert Perry on 07/26/2011 - 10:08 am.

    What you’ve got is pretty simple. Apart from the 10-15% of kids in private, parochial, and home schools, the government schools are essentially a monopoly. Hence, the pay scales negotiated with a gullible school board in city A tend to migrate to city B.

    And for that matter, if one goes by test scores, you could make a serious argument that administrators in the government schools need to be paid like parochial school principals, or lower.

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