At a meeting of the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday night, aldermen approved a controversial contract with the city’s public school administrators.
The three-year contract includes both pay increases to reward administrators for school reform efforts but also reductions in health benefits. The full Board approved the agreement 18 to 6, after the Finance Committee failed to act on it. Over the strident objections of Ward 30 Alderman Darnell Goldson, who criticized the contract for being a net expense for the city in a time of fiscal stress, aldermen approved it with little discussion.
“School administrators are among the highest-paid employees in the city,” Goldson said. “Right now everyone has to sacrifice, especially the highest-paid, and there’s just not enough sacrifice in this contract.”
While Goldson characterized the contract as an unwarranted bonus, most other aldermen were not persuaded.
Ward 23 Alderman and Chair of the Finance Committee Yusuf Shah said the cost savings from the changes in the health benefits package in the administrators’ contract would save the city about $950,000 over the next three years. Combined with the pay increases, however, the contract is a net expense for the city of nearly $300,000.
Goldson singled out for criticism a provision in the contract that provides a $10,000 payment for administrators who provide six months’ notice of their intent to retire, arguing that this is what they should do normally.
The approved contract contains no pay increases in the first year, then 1.5 percent increases in the next two years, as well as an additional 1 percent for adjustments resulting from school reform.