Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A cash-strapped Syracuse City School District may be giving its Superintendent a $10,000 bonus.
The bonus for Superintendent Sharon Contreras would arrive on the heels of the district cutting 180 jobs and asking teachers to accept a freeze on their raises.
Although the bonus is written into the Superintendent’s contract, the teachers’ union and some school board members say money is too tight. Even after numerous cuts, the district is trying to fill a $20 million budget gap next year.
“$10,000 can do a lot for the students in our classroom and the budget process,” said Education Commissioner Maxwell Ruckdeschel. “We wanted to keep the cuts away from the classroom and spend money where it would do the most good for our students. It just seems like a bad time budget wise. We just can't spend money that we don't have right now on bonuses."
In her first year on the job, Contreras made more than $200,000. The bonus would represent nearly a 5 percent increase in her pay.
“We've worked with the board to help them move forward in terms of concessions. How this relates to the bonus...teachers obviously don't feel good about somebody receiving a 4 and a half, 5 percent increase,” said Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern.
The bonus is part of Contreras's contract, which was negotiated with the previous school board. "We certainly believe in honoring contracts as a union, the contract says the school district has to give her the bonus and whether or not she accepts it, is up to her. "
The bonus is performance based. The board will need to award the bonus if it determines that Contreras has met four goals:
- Putting a strategic plan in place for the district
- Developing new evaluation systems teachers and principals
- Increase the school board’s efficiency
- Re-align staff functions and improve student growth
School Board President Stephen Swift says "While I can't speak for the board until the evaluation process is complete, I do feel that she has met or exceeded each of the goals."
Newschannel 9 tried to reach Superintendent Contreras. She was not available for a comment.
“While I can't speak for the board until the evaluation process is complete, I do feel that she has met or exceeded each of the goals,” said Syracuse City School District Board President Stephen Swift.
NewsChannel 9 reached out to Contreras. The Superintendent is out of town, however, and could not comment.