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Brooklyn principal wins $92,000 in bonuses under revamped merit-pay program

May 20, 2013 by

Good grades earned him more than just a spot on the fridge.

PS 172 Principal Jack Spatola has raked in $92,000 in bonus pay from the city since 2008 for his Brooklyn school’s good performance, making him the top earner under a revamped merit-pay system, data show.

In all, 40 public-school principals have each earned cumulative bonuses in excess of $50,000 over the life of the four-year program, a review by The Post found.

Payouts of that size were rare until the city upped the maximum annual bonus amount from $15,000 to $25,000 in the latest principals contract.

Bonuses for assistant principals max out at $12,500.

Other top earners since 2008 include PS 254 Principal Naomi Drouillard in Queens, who has gotten $87,000 in merit pay since then, and Manhattan Village Academy Principal Hector Geager, who has collected $84,000.

“I completely agree with the mayor and the chancellor’s belief that our schools and our students’ performance had to do a lot with the leadership of the schools,” said Geager, whose Chelsea school has earned straight “A’s” since the school-grading system was introduced in 2007.

The city Independent Budget Office is less certain.

In a recent report, it suggested lopping off the program — which averaged nearly $6 million in payouts to principals and assistant principals in each of the past four years.

It also noted the city Department of Education’s school grades, on which the bonuses are decided, have been criticized as flawed.

Even some principals who won bonuses questioned whether the pay boosted performance.

“Does it provide an incentive to do better? I would argue no. It’s not there as a carrot,” one former recipient said.

The Post also found principals at schools that enroll the brightest students were often multiple-year recipients of the extra pay.

The head of the Anderson School, a selective school for “gifted and talented” students on the Upper West Side, earned $56,000 in bonus pay since 2008, while the principal of the Upper East Side’s elite Eleanor Roosevelt HS got $38,000.

Principals have been working without a contract, and its corresponding pay increases, since March 2010.

Their salaries currently top out at $150,000.

via Brooklyn principal wins $92,000 in bonuses under revamped merit-pay program –

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