CPS principals in line for about $3 million in raises

SHARE CPS principals in line for about $3 million in raises

Chicago Public Schools announced $3 million in raises to school leaders the same week that its teachers ratified their new $9.4 billion contract.

Emailing principals and assistant principals on Wednesday — shortly before the Chicago Cubs started their final game of the World Series — district officials announced graduated salary raises for principals averaging 3 percent each this year — as low as 1.5 percent but as high as 7.4 percent depending on experience. That’s according to a CPS presentation obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

“As a former principal myself, this administration greatly values school leaders and the role they play in helping students succeed,” Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said in a statement. “Compensating principals fairly is a major priority, and we are pleased that the CTU passed the labor contract, giving us the clarity to move forward with long-standing plans to increase principals’ compensation.”

In 2009, CPS had frozen the steps for principals that reward years of experience, though it did award cost of living raises of 3 percent in 2012 and 2 percent in 2014. It will not make leaders whole, though, since that 2009 freeze.

Past pay bumps hardly kept pace with other districts in the area with which CPS competes for talent, said Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association.

And so CPS has a hard time keeping the good principals it has. During the last tumultuous school year, rife with fiscal instability and budget cuts, 42 principals resigned — more than in any other year since since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took over.

“We find our principals are severely undercompensated when looked at in relationship to nearby districts, districts that don’t have nearly the challenges that principals in Chicago have to face, which is why we’re losing so many of them to those districts,” LaRaviere said. Combined with funding shortages and bureaucratic nonsense, they leave.

LaRaviere said CPS announced the raises about a week after the CPAA did its own survey about compensation in which 60 percent of responding assistant principals and principals said they supervised teachers who earned more than them. And almost 90 percent said they’re not paid what they are worth, considering how much responsibility CPS thrusts upon them.

Since CPS bases principal pay on school size and experience, its pay freezes really hurt school leaders who were new around 2009 but now are veterans, officials acknowledged in the presentation.

Most assistant principals also will see a 1.5 percent increase. And all current school leaders will keep a 7 percent pension benefit the district makes on their behalf. Those hired going forward will see their pension pickup phase out through 2018, according to CPS.

The money is coming later this month, though the raises will be effective as of the first day of school.

Because principal and assistant principal compensation is higher in bigger schools, CPS said it also reviewed schools in September to reflect their current size, after not measuring since 2004. That affected at least 220 schools, with 47 of them measured at a larger size than before.

CPS will consult with a working group of principals on how to redesign the pay scale, aiming at how to keep “top principals, especially in the schools with the most need” and possibly to “reflect — at least in part — the outcomes achieved by students.”

That working group was heralded in a press release CPS published Thursday in which it announced The Chicago Principal Partnership with the private Chicago Public Education Fund, which intends to put a strong principal in every school, partly by helping to match available schools and principal candidates, and by coordinating training.

But the release made no mention of the raises.

Initially the program will cost about $1.5 million, and paid for by the Fund. It will be guided by an advisory council that includes Jackson, Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools and three principals.


• About 100 principals will see a 4.2 to 7.4 increase totaling $6,000 to $10,000

• About 60 principals will see a 4 percent increase totaling $5,000 to $5,800

• About 60 principals will see a 3 percent increase totaling $3,600 to $4,500

• About 150 principals will see a 2 percent increase totaling $2,400 to $3,200

• About 125 principals will see a 1.5 percent increase totaling $1,800 to $2,400

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