Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Boston School Superintendent Gets Report Card

Failed a couple of subjects?

"Boston school superintendent gets critical job evaluation; Panel shows some discontent with Carol R. Johnson" by James Vaznis  |  Globe Staff, May 25, 2012

The Boston School Committee gave Superintendent Carol R. Johnson low marks in many areas on her most recent evaluation, revealing rare discontent among some members over her leadership less than a year after her contract was renewed with much fanfare.

The evaluation, conducted Jan. 31 at a School Committee retreat and obtained by the Globe this week under a public records request, highlighted Johnson’s difficulties in addressing several highly charged issues.

Chief among the concerns: her slowness in fixing chronically late buses, causing a frustrated Mayor Thomas M. Menino to directly intervene; and her ill-fated proposal to relocate Boston Latin Academy last summer and a subsequent replacement plan that expands and changes the location of several popular schools, which has generated mixed reactions among parents and students. 

Related: Late For Boston Globe School Bus

Also see: Skipping School Series: Switching High Schools

The facilities plan remains contentious, as the City Council deliberates on an $18.6 million loan order to pay for the changes.

Johnson received good marks in other areas, most notably for aligning the annual operating budget to academic priorities and developing positive relationships with government officials and outside organizations. At least two members said her performance merited a bonus....

The committee rates performance on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 meaning performance exceeds expectations and 4 designating a failure to meet the standards and an unsatisfactory rating. Overall, Johnson received an average rating of 2.67, putting her close to a 3, a designation for a performance that does not fully meet the standards and expectations and needs improvement.

The lackluster rating by the seven-member committee, which is appointed by the mayor, was in sharp contrast to previous reviews.

After Johnson’s first school year, 2007-08, the committee gave her a flattering 1.8, while evaluations for her second and third years were 2.1 and 2.0, respectively. Those reviews were often followed up with glowing press releases, or in the case of last year, an extension of her contract until 2015.

This year, there were no such proclamations. The Rev. Gregory Groover, the committee’s chairman, said members largely remain committed to Johnson and that evaluations from two members negatively skewed the results....

Johnson, who arrived from Memphis in 2007, earns $266,750 annually. Through the years, she has repeatedly told the committee she does not want a pay raise or a performance bonus, even in light of good reviews.... 


"The city’s top earner in 2010 was once again Carol R. Johnson, superintendent of schools, who was paid $323,222, including a $56,472 pensionlike payment, officials said."

The evaluation had been shrouded in secrecy....   

Not anymore.