Alexandria school administrators who perform their jobs exceptionally well will be eligible for "incentive pay" bonuses of up to $1,500 under a program announced last night by Superintendent Robert W. Peebles, who said it may be the forerunner of a similar plan for teachers.
The program, first of its kind in Northern Virginia public schools, is designed to recognize and encourage outstanding performance among the system's 65 administrators, who rank from assistant principals to assistant superintendents, Peebles said.
He said the plan may be extended next year to the city's 755 teachers, most of whom apparently are opposed to merit pay schemes.
"We are not doing this because the president wants it or it happens to be popular," Peebles said in a 10-minute report to the city School Board.
He said a plan to distinguish between "those who perform outstandingly well and those who don't" was long overdue.
The plan will reward administrators who receive "more than satisfactory" ratings on their annual job-performance reviews conducted by their immediate superiors.
Administrators judged outstanding will receive one-time bonuses of $500 to $1,500. Peebles said about $39,000 will be used to pay the bonuses.
Peebles said administrators found to have satisfactory performance will get their annual cost-of-living raises, set this year at 3 percent.
Those administrators with less than satisfactory performance will get less than 3 percent or no raises.
The average annual salary of Alexandria public school administrators is $39,000.
Hazel Rigby, president of the Education Association of Alexandria, which claims to represent about 89 percent of the system's teachers, said she will oppose any attempts to include teachers in a similar plan.
"It's merit pay at a cheap rate," she said last night. "From $500 to $1,500, that is embarrassing and would be insulting and demeaning" to outstanding teachers, she said. "I'm shocked."
Nonetheless, Peebles said Alexandria schools are going to have to do more to reward those who do well and further motivate those who do not. He said his incentive pay program has "implications for all the system's employes."
In other Washington-area school districts, only Montgomery County has an incentive pay plan for administrators. It is part of the administrators' negotiated contract with the system and has been in effect for a year.
Stephen Rohr, director of personnel services for the Montgomery schools, said 43 of the system's 430 administrators received $1,000 bonuses over the year.
No Washington-area school system has such a plan for teachers.
At last night's special meeting of the board, its newest member, board member Rhonda D. Hill, 29, a black Fairfax County school teacher, was sworn in. She was appointed to the post last month by the City Council.
Board Vice Chairman Judith A. Feaver was selected to replace Lou Cook as the new chairman.
Mary Jane Nugent replaced Feaver as vice chairman. Both Cook and Nugent were reappointed to new three-year terms last month.