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Norwalk BoE considering pegging Rivera bonus to performance measures

Norwalk Superintendent Manny Rivera, left. Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons, right.
Norwalk Superintendent Manny Rivera, left. Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons, right.

NORWALK, Conn. – A bonus for Norwalk Superintendent Manny Rivera would be contingent on student achievement in a proposal to be considered Tuesday by the Board of Education.

Instead of a 20 percent performance bonus as outlined in Rivera’s current employment agreement, Rivera would get a bonus equal to 6 percent of his base salary if all of the student performance targets are met. If 90 percent of the targets are met Rivera would get 3 percent of his base salary as a bonus.

If it’s less than 90 percent Rivera would get zip.

“Please note that the use of quantitative measures of performance offers a much more objective view of the performance of an individual,” a memo from the superintendent’s office to the BoE states.

At its last meeting the board held an executive session to discuss Rivera’s evaluation.

The standard set for student progress in the proposal includes students being on track to meet or exceed learning expectations by the end of third grade. The goal for the percentage of K-3 students meeting benchmarks on end of year Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is to have them increase from 73 percent in 2013-14 to 93 percent by 2020. For Rivera to get a bonus they would have to be at 77 percent at the end of this school year.

The goal for proficiency on Text and Reading Comprehension (TRC) is to go from 65 percent in 2013-14 to 90 percent by 2020. The goal for Rivera bonus-wise would be for them to hit 70 percent proficiency or above.

It goes on from there. Regarding closing the achievement gap, the gap would be decreased by 15 percent for Black and Hispanic students in the end of year 2015 DIBELS for Rivera to get his bonus.

BoE 100614

Comments

10 responses to “Norwalk BoE considering pegging Rivera bonus to performance measures”

  1. Taxpayer Fatigue

    I’m al for tying bonuses to measurable performance. Is it fair, though, to redece his bonus as outlined in his employment agreement from 20% to 6%, or is his base salary being increased? Similar performance measures should be tied to principal and teacher raises.

  2. Oldtimer

    Dropping his bonus from 20% to 6%, if student achievement meets some arbitrary goals may sound good on paper, but sounds a bit tough on Rivera, considering the variables that are not entirely under his control. If I was expecting 20% bonuses and this scheme was proposed instead, I would feel the BOE was not being fair with me and would probably start looking for another position. 20% for reaching those same goals might be a reasonable challenge, but probably more governed by chance than by anything he can actually control.

  3. MarjorieM

    Much more realistic! Congrats to the Board!

  4. Thanks, Marj.

    Just to clarify, Dr. Rivera’s contract provides for a bonus of UP TO 20% of salary; it can be any number below that (so this isn’t a “cut” – this is the first time we’re putting in a bonus structure). We feel that this more modest bonus structure is a good way to establish bonuses as a policy, and the requirements (which Dr. Rivera endorses) are quite strict – if he achieves anything less than 90% of the numeric targets he gets no bonus at all. Well-designed performance compensation directly ties a CEO’s bonus to achievement of measurable goals that advance the organization’s Strategic Plan, which is exactly what we’re doing here.

    Fatigue, I would love to provide bonus opportunities for principals and teachers. Unfortunately, their unions are adamantly against them. Perhaps after seeing Dr. Rivera receiving bonuses for getting the overall school system’s performance up, their members may urge the union leaders to take another look.

  5. Independent Voice

    I would put Dr. Rivera against any superintendent in the state and encourage the Board to reward him with the upper threshold of the bonus range. By all measures he’s doing a great job and finally reinstating respect into Norwalk’s sub par rated schools. I also hope the Board of Education is attentive to the uphill battle Dr. Rivera faces when a material percentage of families in the area don’t place the same standards on education for their children as the schools system itself. This is perhaps the largest gap that will need to be bridged to get Norwalk’s schools competitive to nearby towns. Education after all begins at home.

  6. MarjorieM

    “By all measures he’s doing a great job and finally reinstating respect into Norwalk’s sub par rated schools.”

    By all measures? No one has asked the staff for their evaluations of Rivera. I’ve heard multiple complaints about Power School, Human Relations offices, lack of follow-up for Common Core curriculum…….Teachers are speaking up on NorwalkSpeaks.com.

    I support this measure to tie student progress to his bonus.

  7. Anne Sullivan

    Fatigue, he still receives his raise and perks (including his consulting business income). These ambitious goals only relate to his bonus.

  8. John Hamlin

    Rewarding performance is a good thing for the city. If only we could apply this principle to teachers and other government employees.

  9. Oldtimer

    Mike:
    When you use a line like “Unfortunately, their unions are adamantly against them” you give the impression that there is no real negotiation with the teacher’s union and they pretty much write their own contracts. I’m pretty sure that is not your intent. We both have a great deal of respect for how well that union is managed, but nothing is off the table in real “good faith” negotiations. To get something, you generally have to give something. The biggest objection to bonuses for teachers based on performance is probably a lack of confidence in any BOE plan to evaluate performance, or even to fairly define performance. You come up with a reasonable plan to define and evaluate teacher performance and you could be surprised out how reasonable the teacher’s union can be.

  10. Oldtimer, we have a negotiation on the full teachers contract next year (this year’s was just a reopener for pay scales in year 3 of the current contract). I will give what you suggest a try and propose a merit pay provision next year. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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