The D.C. Board of Education gave Superintendent Clifford B. Janey a strong vote of confidence last night by awarding him a $25,000 performance bonus and a one-year extension of his three-year contract.
Board members approved the bonus, which is 10 percent of Janey's $250,000 salary, as part of their annual performance review. It was the board's first evaluation of Janey, who took over as leader of the 62,000-student school system in September last year.
In awarding the bonus, board members said Janey generally met their expectations in several key areas, including introducing new learning standards and hiring principals and teachers well before the start of the school year. The $25,000 bonus, which will be paid by Monday, represented half of what Janey was eligible to receive. He would have had to exceed the board's expectations to get the full 20 percent.
Under the contract extension, Janey will serve until June 30, 2008. Board member Robin B. Martin, who co-chaired the committee that oversaw the evaluation, said he recommended the extension to give Janey more time to work on his reform measures.
The school system "is in a good place, given where we started from a year ago and the progress [Janey] has made since then," Martin said. "He's been as tough on himself as many people are, and we want to commend him for being open" during the evaluation process.
But not all board members agreed that Janey should get a bonus and a contract extension.
Tommy Wells (District 3), though supporting Janey, said he opposes bonuses on principle. "I don't think it improves the performance for people at Dr. Janey's level," he said.
The bonus, he added, won't "increase the morale of teachers and principals" who are implementing Janey's plans but not receiving more money.
William Lockridge (District 4), who also chaired the evaluation committee, said Janey's contract should not be extended because he has yet to introduce a master education plan and fully implement improvements in business operations.
If Janey had exceeded expectations in the evaluation, "I would have been comfortable" with the extension, said Lockridge, who introduced an amendment that died because no one seconded it.
According to the evaluation, Janey met expectations in student academic achievement, business operations and technology, student and staff safety and staff improvement.
He partially met expectations in school facilities improvement and communicating with parents and the community. The evaluation said Janey needs to work harder to rectify maintenance problems at the schools and should introduce an anticipated parent complaint center.
This year marked the first time that the board used a comprehensive approach to evaluate a superintendent. Members asked specific questions to rank Janey and forwarded the evaluation packet to 20 groups representing parents, teachers and community members who were asked to review his performance.
As part of the process, Janey also evaluated himself and responded to board members' comments.
"We aren't looking at the personality of the school superintendent or how he's getting along with us," Martin said in an interview. "We're looking for results."
Board member JoAnne Ginsberg told Janey that he "earned our respect and brought us such a long way. I am excited you will be with us longer."
The board also agreed last night to evaluate itself.