Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Salary inflation at DCPS

Two years ago there was only one person at DCPS who drew a salary about $150,000. Today, there are fourteen.
The salary information, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, shows 14 central administration officials receiving a base pay of at least $150,000 in fiscal 2006, including five officials making $170,000 or more.

By comparison, pay records approved by the Board of Education in July 2004 show only one administrator -- former interim Superintendent Elfreda Massie -- earning at least $150,000. She was paid $175,000.

An analysis by The Washington Times compared Schedule A pay documents approved by the school board in July 2004 and in January 2006, and found that the school system's top jobs pay significantly more than they did two years ago. The document is a detailed financial snapshot that contains schedules of salaries and benefits.

The pay increases come at a time when the school system struggles with declining enrollment brought on by competition from charter schools. In recent years, D.C. school officials also have cut teaching jobs and made plans to consolidate schools.

Roxanne Evans, the school system's media strategist, said the salaries are necessary so the school system can "hire and retain the best people we can."
Ms. Evans does have a point -- education officials work in a national market and the best will demand a high price -- but is DCPS getting the best? Also if it costs money to hire and retain the best and the brightest shouldn't DCPS be doing something to purge itself of the worst and the dimmest? The central office management layer of DCPS isn't exactly a lean, mean managing machine and an aggressive pruning of their ranks would make the high cost of the new management team go down a little easier.

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