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Hite officially hired, will start Oct. 1

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 25, 2012 01:52 PM

The School Reform Commission on Tuesday officially hired Dr. William Hite as superintendent, effective Oct. 1, at an annual salary of $300,000.

All five members voted in favor of the five-year contract, which will pay Hite $50,000 more than he receives as superintendent of the 125,000-student school district in Prince George's County, Md., but $48,000 less than former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

The SRC also voted to extend the contract of Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen until Nov. 23 so he can help manage the leadership transition. Knudsen will continue to receive $25,000 a month until Hite's arrival, when he will become chief financial officer and acting chief recovery officer at a compensation of $22,500 a month.

SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said that Hite's official hiring is a step toward putting the financially and academically beleaguered District "on a firm foundation for the future." 

Ramos called Hite "an eminent educator" who has "assembled good teams" and has "had to navigate a large district through some very difficult times and has done so about as well as anybody could imagine." In Prince George's County, Hite has had to manage huge budget shortfalls and lay off workers, but managed to stay on good terms with the teachers' union.

Hite, who has been coming to the District one or two days a week and will continue that until he formally takes the helm, said he was looking forward to the challenge of leading the District.

"I want to thank the School Reform Commission for having faith in me," he said in a phone interview.

Hite said he had already been meeting with "key stakeholders" and reiterated his commitment to start off his tenure with extensive community engagement.

"And by that I mean not just sitting listening to individuals making statements, but by sharing as much information as possible and have them look at the numbers themselves. They may have better ideas than we do," he said.

However, he added that the budget situation is still dire and that it will be a "heavy lift" to balance the books while still providing a quality education. 

"Most likely we’re going to have to choose between the best of a lot of bad choices," he said. "There is no other way to eliminate that type of deficit other than putting everything on the table, understanding impact on students, and making hard decisions of what we have to do."

Still, he said, with so many people passionately involved and willing to share their ideas "at  a time that we're being forced to do things differently, I think we can emerge on the other side as an effective and high-performing student district."

The compensation package for Hite is competitive, but not as lucrative as those with Ackerman and her predecessor, Paul Vallas, Ramos said.

"This agreement is a better deal economically for taxpayers of Philadelphia than the previous two deals," he said. "It recognizes the importance and circumstances under which Dr. Hite is being hired, but it's also aware of the market, what his predecessors made, and the job being asked here. When you look at this agreement, it's pretty transparent what the economics are."

Hite will not be eligible for a performance bonus for a year and his severance, if terminated without cause, is nine months' pay -- not the nearly million dollars that Ackerman received. He would also get three months' notice.

The performance bonus after the first year could be as high as 20 percent, based on what the contract calls "reasonable, measurable and objective criteria" including increases in student test scores and graduation rates, and "reduction in the achievement gap" between White and Latino students and between White and African American students.

Although the specifics of the criteria would have to be worked out, such a reduction would be measured, for example, if the graduation rate for Black and Latino males, now both below 50 percent, were to improve substantially.

Hite forfeited $125,000 by leaving Prince George's County two months earlier than the 120-day notice that his contract there required. The District will not compensate him specifically for that, Ramos said.

Ramos also thanked Knudsen, who has been managing the District through its  budget crisis and delicate labor talks. Knudsen led negotiations with the District's blue-collar union that will save the District $100 million while avoiding outsourcing.

Knudsen said that he wants to see the District through "a major financing" of more than $200 million so it can balance next year's budget and establish a performance management system.

That system would apply to the District's offices and divisions, not to schools.

Knudsen also said that the agreement with the blue-collar union, in which workers essentially absorbed a pay cut of more than 10 percent by forgoing scheduled raises and giving back between $5 and $45 a week, would be "precedential" in dealing with the District's other unions.

The contract of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers doesn't expire for a year, and PFT president Jerry Jordan has said he will not consider reopening it. However, the District has built in $150 million in contract concessions in next year's budget.






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Comments (22)

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on July 25, 2012 8:03 pm

What is Hite's benefit/perks package? When Ackerman started, she didn't get $348,000 - it was closer to $300,000. 20% is $60,000 in addition to $300,000 - so that is more than Ackerman.

Blue color workers are giving back more than 10%. Teachers - and administrators - I assume will be told to do the same. How is that equitable? Will we get 20% increase for decreasing the Achievement gap? Will we get 20% for increasing test scores?

The devil is in the details.... What are the details?

Submitted by philly mom (not verified) on July 25, 2012 9:13 pm

Ackerman started at $325,000 and was entitled to the same 20% performance pay... and she had a retention bonus.

The contract is here:

Hite's contract is online, link in the article... seems much better than the Ackerman deal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 26, 2012 8:05 am

UMMM, HELLO I HOPE THE FOLLOWING IS A TYPO, $25,000 A MONTH?????? "The SRC also voted to extend the contract of Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen until Nov. 23 so he can help manage the leadership transition. Knudsen will continue to receive $25,000 a month until Hite's arrival..."

Who makes $25,000 a month??????????????

Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on July 26, 2012 9:03 am

Not a typo. They are really paying this useless profiteer that much, and they promised he'd be gone by today. Surprise, surprise, the SRC lied.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 20, 2012 1:27 pm

Who makes $25,000 a month? No one that works in that building should ever make that much- they ought to consider hiring teachers with experience ( 10 +) to do thos jobs; pay them the higher salaries and for once stop letting people decide the fates of teachers who have never stepped foot into a classroom or have been removed form one for more than 10 years; observing them is a joke- IT DOESN"T COUNT

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on July 25, 2012 8:27 pm

What does it mean that the District will not compensate Hite "specifically" for the $125,000 from his current position?

Submitted by Timothy Boyle on July 25, 2012 10:53 pm

From today "though the date on which Dr. Hite commences employment as Superintendent, but no later than October 1, 2012, Dr. Hite will be compensated at his daily rate and reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses."

Though I doubt the daily times two days per week times nine or so weeks is 125,000 dollars, it will be money earned on top of the 300,000 dollar salary. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 26, 2012 6:31 am

It probably means that the Foundation will pay him. He's getting compensated...of that you can be sure. He'll get $125K, up front, in his hand. The "powers that be" have the money to do whatever it is they deem worthy.

Hite is here to take the charter movement to the next level. Soon SDP will resemble Chester Upland. There will be a dozen or less schools under SDP's umbrella. Schools for students who are the hardest and most costly to educate. When that time comes there will be no need for a high priced superintendent. Hite will move on in about two years. A five year contract will not be necessary.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 25, 2012 8:27 pm


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 25, 2012 8:02 pm

Did you hear about the SRC meeting today? All of the unions and non rep brothers and sisters continue to give back money and services. We are the one in the fields without any supports. Do you hear that they want to change the Student Code of Conduct. Are you kidding me? Look at the violence that is happening during the summer time. And then we are responsible of the Bulllying that happens in the school. We cannot continue to allow this to happen.

Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on July 25, 2012 9:27 pm

The revolution will not be on the Notebook. The revolution will be no comments, brothers, because the revolution will be live.

Submitted by Greg N. (not verified) on July 25, 2012 9:17 pm

All I know for sure is that silence is not golden. We' re sitting here on our computers complaining but doing nothing more and Jerry Jordan is doing even less than we. Gee, I guess they have the green light to keep destroying the lives of the poor and the middle class. We have met the enemy and it is we.

Submitted by Mike (not verified) on June 6, 2014 5:08 am
Nobody will have the time and attention for twitter, facebook or other stuff. In the end, the bigger things will make us realise how wrong things are at the moment Mike
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 26, 2012 6:07 am

We know that we have serious problems. What realistic short term and long term solutions can people present. What are the answers we can push our leaders like Jerry to fight for?

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on July 26, 2012 10:18 am

There are no easy answers.
Solutions necessitate changing the mindset of citizens from individualism and self interest to concern for the common good and equity for all. Presently the rich and powerful are winning this battle but grassroots activism is having some effects. Much more is needed, however. Change will require moving beyond commenting on these pages to educating at every opportunity. This is grueling, unrelenting work. Those at the helm are expecting us to embrace a cynicism which will enable them to achieve their short-sighted purposes.
Jerry is not cut out for this. He is too comfortable. We all need to get to work.

Submitted by Greg N. (not verified) on July 26, 2012 7:17 pm

I know you mean well but "Educating" folks ain't gonna get it. PRESSUE, loud and long, is what is required. Jerry, at best, is not cut out for this. He may be silent for another reason--self preservation.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on July 26, 2012 8:10 pm

Of course you are correct that unrelenting pressure is necessary. It needs to come from groups that reflect the diversity of our population- parents, school district employees in all areas, church leadership, all unions in solidarity.

Now how might that occur? (check out today's article about Upper Darby).
A massive education campaign is the first step.
All of the above groups in solidarity would have unprecedented power.

By the way, beginning your response by saying, "I know you mean well but...." feels condescending.
We who generally are on the same side of the issue can't afford to alienate ourselves from each other.
I already got over it, but I think its worth mentioning.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 26, 2012 4:31 pm

Nothing about this is a shock to me. Why shouldn't Dr. Hite benefit from his time here in Philadelphia? The SRC is still allowing promotions and raises of a few while others salaries have been cut or they have been asked to reapply as as non-represented employees. The SRC continues to allow Ms. Nixon to staff Central Office positions of Associate and Assistant Superintendent with "friends" during the most severe financial crises to date. Dr. Hite must put a stop to this. Look at the make up of Central Office staff. Under financial crises, It is my hope that Dr. Hite reads the notebook and begins to address this practice.

Submitted by Greg N. (not verified) on July 26, 2012 9:22 pm

His tenure here will be VERY short lived if he does anything other than what he is told to do.

Submitted by teach4life (not verified) on July 26, 2012 10:47 pm

Do you know the names of the new associate and assistant superintendents and other central office staff that you are telling us about? I, for one, would like to know who these individuals are and what their specific assignments are. See, last year, there was an insider in the District who "shared" this information with us via the comments section on here... This year, it does not look like we are that fortunate as this reorganization is indeed taking place, yet we have no idea who has been "tapped" to take on these newly created roles. The only thing I see on the website is the new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (Donna Runner) who is replacing Darienne Driver who was the Deputy for Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development... Mind you, this position was NEVER posted.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 28, 2012 1:25 am

so that's where Donna Runner went..

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 26, 2012 6:10 pm

Gee, I spent 36 years of my life working for the District and the only bonus I ever got was having to sign a contract on July 1, 2011 stating that I "volunteered" to retire, and I would not attempt to seek reemployment with said School District. In the meantime, Stefanie F was compensating all of her relatives quite handidly, Arlene was working on her $950,000.00 buyout, and 440 became a vaste wasteland of empty cubicles.

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