The city is set to award millions of dollars in bonuses to teachers and principals at high-performing schools tomorrow, using public funds for the first time in a year when schools have faced deep cuts.
The city would not disclose today how much money would be awarded tomorrow. But last year, the bonuses for elementary and middle school teachers amounted to nearly $20 million. (Nearly $8 million went to high school principals and teachers after high school progress reports were released.) About $5.5 million went to administrators whose schools scored in the top 20 percent on the progress reports. The rest of the money, $14.2 million, went to 89 of the schools participating in a separate bonus program in which a team of teachers and administrators decides how to mete out the extra money at each school.
Last year, the $14.2 million tab for the school-wide bonus program was paid by a host of private donors, including the Broad Foundation and the Partnership for the City of New York, and the plan was for taxpayers to begin footing the bill this year. A Department of Education spokeswoman, Ann Forte, confirmed today that the plan had not changed. The bonus program for principals used public dollars last year.
A principal we spoke to today whose school landed solidly in the top 20 percent of all scorers, for the third year in a row, said she hadn’t yet heard whether she would be receiving a bonus or how much this year’s bonuses would be.
Under budget pressure last year, the city scrapped a separate program that would have awarded an extra $30 per student to schools that earned both an A on their progress reports and a “well developed” on their quality reviews. Had that program been up and running this year, the city would be on the hook for more than $9.3 million in bonuses.