slides: Worcester’s Highest Paid School Employees
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Dr. Melinda Boone, Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools, tops the list with gross pay of $188,400 in 2012. While this may not be surprising, the appearance of Albert Ganem, Jr., Ann M. Swenson, and Susan P. O’Neil, listed as Federal Program Site Administrators, prompted questions.
“You have #7, #12, and #16 who are federal compliance officers of some kind,” said David Schaefer, a professor of political science at the College of the Holy Cross. “Why do we have so many of these? What do they do? That attests to an obvious cost of federal regulation.”
Professor Schaefer’s questions prompted further investigation into these titles, which, explained Brain Allen, Chief Financial Officer of the Worcester Public Schools referred to their secondary, not primary, employment.
Ganem, Swenson, and O’Neil are all principals, at City View Discovery School, Gates Lane School of International Studies, and Worcester Arts Magnet School respectively. The federal title refers to their federally funded positions running afterschool programs at their respective schools, Allen said. It is unclear why the city’s human resources department listed this title.
Allen also explained the function of the two Quadrant Managers who made the top twenty.
“The school district is set up in quadrants,” Allen said. “Each oversees two quadrants. They’re in charge of all the curriculum instruction and school leadership. They’re responsible for all the curriculum that gets approved by the school committee and they supervise all the building principals.”
The top twenty are principals and high-level administrators, like Dr. Marco Rodrigues, Chief Academic Officer, and Helen A. Friel, Assistant to the Superintendent and Clerk of the School Committee, who made $140,629 and $135,180, respectively, in 2012.
High Salaries Are No Surprise
Len Zalauskas, President of the Education Association of Worcester agreed. “It’s a normal thing,” he said. “A few of them seem pretty high, but the fact is, like Dr. Boone’s pay, is the same as what they pay in Holden. More money should go into classroom teachers, but for those people it’s a competitive market, and they can go work anywhere.”
In other words, those seeking high-pressure administrative positions like Dr. Boone’s and others are often few and far between. Their high level of education and experience make them sought after employees, and encourage cities to pay competitive salaries.
“There are not a lot of people rushing to be principal,” Zalauskas said. As for Dr. Boone, “She makes mistakes, but it’s a big job,” he said.
Overall, the numbers were not surprising and seemed on par with the pay scales of other urban school districts.
“I think that the zero-base budgeting approach that the Superintendent took in her first year is making a huge difference in making sure that funding is being allocated in a way that best benefits the children,” Carey said.
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