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August 20, 2009

Update on Alonso's bonus

As many of you weighed in on the question of Dr. Alonso's performance bonus for 2008-2009, I wanted to give you an update.   The city school board decided to award him a $29,000 bonus. 

Some background: board Chairman Neil Duke told me today that Alonso received the same amount last year.  The bonus is in addition to his salary, which is now $250,000, as there is an automatic $10,000 pay raise in his contract.

Mr. Duke also shared the myriad factors the board weighed in making its decision, some of which were:

- Rising enrollment

- Reaching more students early on, with expanding pre-K and more students starting kindergarten "full ready" to learn

- Student gains on the Stanford 10

- MSA Results

- Significant HSA gains

- Record-high graduation rate, as well as the 94 percent of the Class of 2009 that met the state's HSA graduation requirement

- Record-low dropout rate

- Rise in SAT Scores

- Exiting “Corrective Action.”

- Expanding school options

- The addition of collaborative planning periods in every school

- Fair Student Funding (changing the way schools are funded, to give principals more control

- A leaner, more responsive Central Office

- Community Support for Schools Initiative

- Family and Community Engagement Policy

- Increased national attention on city schools (several identified as America's best high schools)

Posted by Arin Gencer at 6:57 PM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Baltimore City


Isn't it interesting that Dr. Alonso is getting a bonus despite the fact that the $1000 New Teacher Signing Obligation Bonus offered under Teacher Benefits on the City Schools website is completely bogus!? Warning to all new teachers: don't bother filling out the form and turning it in to Human Resources, you'll never see the money. Why doesn't City Schools take that form off of their website if they can't make due on the offer? Good question!

I understand the bonus. A contract is a contract. But, has anyone stopped to realize that the dramatic rise in HSA scores last year was because the AYP calculations changed? For the first time, it was no longer a percentage of 1st time test-takers. It was, instead, the percentage of the students who passed by the end of their 11th grade year? So the numbers from 2007 and 2008 are not comparable!

Good For Them.... The city can not expect to get Cadillac performance for Chevy pay. BCPSS is the third largest district in the state but the leader is number six???

That's cool-- I mean, I couldn't do his job and in my view he is doing just fine.

Alonso's raise this year 16.25 % (10,000 step and 29,000 bonus)

Mine as teacher 1.9%(1200 step increase on old salary scale)

While I beleive AAA is doing a reasonable job,I have worked for at least 7 superintendents in 16 years(give or take few)and I have seen little change from one adminsitration to the next.In the final analysis, how students achieve is rooted in the parent, student and teacher. I have never had any PD worth anything, have bought almost all my own instructional materials, and work ridiculously long hours. And he gets the raise without so much as an apology or thanks to teachers! oops, I forgot! A rain-soaked baseball game.

@mike-I agree that as teachers we are always treated poorly! but, again, its not in "our contract" that we get a 16.25% raise! Dont get mad at his contract for teachers' pay, thats the result of that ridiculous faction called baltimore teachers union who collects money for doing nothing!

As a newly hired employee in BCPSS, I am pleased to see so many positive changes to the system in recent years. This is part of what encouraged me to seek employment in the city. Though Dr. Alonso’s salary/bonus may seem large, he is getting the job done. We need to do what it takes to keep him here!

Alonso is good at smiling, using words like "kids" and "education" ad nauseum, and politely evading the issue of school violence.

@concerned teacher

here is part of my post 10 days ago:

You say that maybe someday teachers will have a contract that really reflects what they contribute to the gains made by the system. i say, that we have never had a leader more hostile towrd the union when it comes to contract negotiations. Add to this that our union is a joke and seems only to focus on providing social events for their membership, and it is very doubful that our dream of a fair contract will ever be realized.

I think Alonso has a great opportunity, in this time where schools like mine have to choose between having a social worker, an art teacher, or some skeleton of an after-school program, to show that we all must sacrifice. he could do this by refusing part of the bonus and returning that money to an after-school program.

And for the record, I did not agree with the incentives being put in to his contract for the reason that other people do not have the same opportunity. You are right, though, the school board members that did vote for the bonuses cowered when confronted. It's remarkable to me that we put such important decisions in the hands of, what seems to be, a more and more disengaged and disinvested school board members.

If it makes you feel better to believe the reponses are "knee-jerk" so be it, but nowhere in my response did i say that i don't believe in bonuses. It just seems to me that increasingly in our society and in the city, those bonuses only go to those people already making the most money. We will have to agree to disagree on whether that is fair or not fair.
Also, I think you misrepresent my anger. In fact, i think that Alonso has made some bold moves to make the school system stronger. Selfishly, i guess, i just wish each school and each dedicated professional could benfit equally from the moves. I believe it is the Union's responsibility that this happens, and at this job they are a huge failure.

I personally asked AAA to come help my *old* school TMHS on several occasions. Instead of coming to help he sent us a defunct administrator (that he later fired) and closed the school. I later found out that the plans to close TMHS were in affect from day 1 of last school year and all his talk of turning us around was bogus.

Against all that, TMHS' scores went up (again) in every subject. In fact, our scores (particularly in English) went up dramatically each year starting from 8% 4 years ago to 35% this year.

Now AAA never visited us, ignored cries for help, and secretly put in motion closing plans while e-mailing promises he never kept so naturally he gets a raise.

My scores went up and my reward was job hunting and a freeze on step increases.

Comrade Brandon,

It's clear that you did what you could and did well. Teaching through chaos, being the eye of the storm, you're going to have to take a private comfort in that. The public is determinedly apathetic. And Alonso of course haunts every good teacher's dreams. Are his intentions truly good? Perhaps, but good intentions are overrated. He doesn't examine his cliches, which are a very potent public anesthetic, and he seems a vile misreader of Machiavelli. The good leader sometimes has to lie in order to protect large truths, but to promise changes in a school with the hidden intention of shutting it down is cowardly. Sadly, he wouldn't have known how to fix your school to begin with, because he and so many other experts want to maximize attendance, though what I imagine your school needed was a few surgical expulsions and a just plain more people working in the classrooms. Even Obama's guy, Arne "Dunkin'" Duncan, is a hack.

@ a teacher

you should post more often.

Kind of ironic that he gets a bonus and we teachers are being asked to accept that there are no raises this year

@ mathteacher--Welcome to Baltimore City.

This is my 2nd complete year in BCPS. AAA is putting bandaids on serious wounds. One area that I would like to see AAA do something about is school safety. AAA is afraid of addressing serious issues such as ineffective school police, resource officers, and hall monitors. I have asked for help at my school and I was almost out of a job if I didn't leave it alone. Since I wanted to keep my job, one of the things I had to do was stop mentioning that on a daily basis SP would hide in their office as mayhem became a daily routine in my school. If AAA wants to cut the budget then maybe he should start there. The money is wasted on people that refuse to work.


I'd go along with everything you say, and I think he won't address the issues you mention because solving them would endanger things like his bonus and the public's impression of what's taking place in the schools. One irony is that attendance is too high. There are far too many students in these schools who have no place in the rooms we are giving them. Alonso has simply shoveled street activity into the schools by finding kids who dropped out and putting them in classes where they have found themselves tragically behind in their work and with little to do but cause trouble. There are of course exceptions to this, but Alonso isn't scrupulous enough to sort it all out. And yes, there are far too many people (including Alonso) whose time would be better spent actually working with kids than supposedly working on their behalf.

How can AAA in good faith accept that bonus? He convinced Marietta English "president - Baltimore Teachers Union" to forego the Step Increase for teachers. How can you respect a "leader" that would do that? He is claiming that City Schools has no money, many people were demoted, many people lost their jobs. Morale is at its lowest. But AAA took that bonus. It's despicable.

"...there are far too many people (including Alonso) whose time would be better spent actually working with kids than supposedly working on their behalf."


Truer words have never been spoken.

@ VT & MT -- No welcome to the real world

It's not often that I find myself feeling in 100% agreement with OTT, but I've been thinking the same thing as I read comments. What is the profession where the workers get compensated in the same way upper management does? Anybody ever looked at compensation packages for corporate CEO's vs. assembly line workers or even non-union "professional" (like engineers)? The kind of justice you're demanding doesn't exist.

If you want to be treated like an upper muckety-muck, start climbing your way up the ladder. Don't start complaining about spending more time pushing papers than actually doing what you went into your career to do. That's something you give up when you climb the management ladder.

@ a parent

There are plenty of professions where workers get the same kind of compensation that the CEO does. Are you kidding? What do you think stock options are? At Constellation Energy and countless other companies mid-level workers are given bonuses, just as bonuses are given to CEOs. I don't want to be treated like "upper muckety-muck." And I don't want to climb up the ladder--that's why I teach. We leave the ladder-climbing to second-rate attorneys like Alonso, who couldn't cut it on Wall Street and then realized the big money was in backdoor politics. We teachers, as far as I can tell, don't even care all that much about bonuses. If it were money we wanted, we'd be doing something else. On the evidence of what I've heard from other teachers and from my own conscience, we just want the public to stop believing that teachers are somehow any less supportive of kids than Alonso. Do you really think that Alonso, that tyrannically wide empty grin of a man, is working harder for kids than your average teacher? He sits at his desk and writes banal emails to teachers, goes to the bathroom to brainstorm evasive answers to reporters' questions, and then reads Arne Duncan's banal public release statements with the alacrity of a teenager looking at a pregnancy test.

Oh my goodness "a teacher", that is simply delicious. "Tyrannically wide empty grin of a man." Delicious, simply delicious.

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