It’s late, and I have miles to go before I can sleep tonight, but this is too important to wait.
Thank you, Topper Birney, for taking a stand for our teachers (our real teachers). It’s about time that someone on the board did.
In case you missed it, tonight the board had yet another discussion about how to evaluate Dr. Wardynski. The board has proposed five goals by which Dr. Wardynski will be evaluated. These are:
- Accelerate Learning at All Levels
- Increase Flexibility in the General Fund Budget While Preserving Educational Programs
- Build Bench Strength Though Strategic Staffing
- Improve Capital Infrastructure
- Meet Department of Justice Requirements to Deserve Unitary Status
There was extensive discussion about the benchmarks associated with these goals, and the likelihood of being able to evaluate the Superintendent according to these goals by May 31st. But as soon as that was over, the board embarked on a discussion of just how much of a bonus Dr. Wardynski should receive for his work this year.
Mr. Blair opened the bidding with $10,000. He claimed that this was “on-par” with other incentive-based bonuses of the surrounding systems. As usual, he offered no specific evidence of this claim. Robinson supported this opening bid by claiming that Wardynski has “In the three months he’s been here according to all reports, we’ve saved $3,000,000 in personnel costs.” She didn’t offer any evidence supporting these claims.
Yes, Dr. Jennie Robinson believes that Dr. Casey Wardynski deserves a bonus because he’s refusing to hire teachers, aides, and other support personnel.
[Honest to god, I could not make this up.]
Dr. Robinson then suggested that we should be more generous with Dr. Wardynski’s bonus and make it $20,000. She later suggested that $25,000 would be completely reasonable. (Such a bonus would make Wardynski the highest paid superintendent in the state. Didn’t we just fire a superintendent making the highest salary in the state?)
Mrs. Morrison responded that the smaller systems are not in debt the way we are, and that it’s difficult to pay anyone what they’re worth.
Dr. Wardynski stated that a person should be “worth what they pay you.” To this, Dr. Robinson said, “that’s absolutely right. And you are.” (Sounds like at least one member for the board has already made up her mind concerning her evaluation of the Superintendent’s performance. Again in case you couldn’t pick up on that from other comments.)
Dr. Wardynski, to his partial credit, stated that, “I think the first number would be plenty.” He could, if he wished, request that the board put his bonus back into the system, but at least he’s not holding out for the highest number.
Morrison then suggested $5,000 to $10,000 would be a good start, since “we’ve never done this before.” Mrs. McCaulley later stated that these amounts might be a good place to start.
Mrs. McCaulley then asked Mr. Birney for his opinion concerning the bonus situation.
This is what he said:
We’ve got some teachers that have suffered a lot this year. Dr. Wardynski knows I think the world of him, but I don’t know if we should start out with that big a jump.
Mr. Birney was the only board member who even mentioned the fact that teachers are suffering. (Mr. Blair later said that he shared Mr. Birney’s concern.)
And they are suffering.
Our teachers are being asked to do much more work than before by teaching significantly larger classes. Our teachers are all receiving a pay cut in the form of higher insurance/retirement contribution requirements. Our teachers are not getting even a STEP raise this year. Our new teachers are being hired at the state minimum salary.
Our teachers are being ordered to do more work for less money, with no hope for a bonus regardless of how well they perform.
The board decided to complete this discussion about the bonus at a later date.
Here’s a suggestion: No Bonuses for Administrators Before Teachers,
As I have written before, if Dr. Wardynski accepts a bonus, if teachers’ salaries are frozen, this should indicate to the board that the Superintendent is not doing everything in his power to raise student achievement, fix the budget crisis, and address staffing issues. In other words, accepting any bonus while our teachers are suffering should disqualify him from receiving that bonus.
Of course that will never happen. The board, after all, must be able to claim that Dr. Wardynski is such a huge success that he deserves a huge bonus. Otherwise, they won’t be able to claim that they’ve fixed the mess that they created.
If you believe that teachers deserve to be rewarded for their hard work, if you believe that being the highest paid person in the system is sufficient reward to Wardynski for just doing his job, then write and call your board member, and let them know that there should be no bonuses for administrators before teachers.
Put our students, and those who work directly with them, first. And thank Mr. Birney for being the only one on the board willing to even think about our teachers.