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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 6, 2004 6:17 PM. The previous post in this blog was Don't get your hopes up. The next post in this blog is Hurts so good. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, April 6, 2004

That ain't hay

The Portland public schools have a new superintendent, Vicki L. Phillips, who comes to us from Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania secretary of education and recently served as superintendent of the Lancaster, Pa. public schools. Before that she went to school and worked in Kentucky.

According to newspapers back in Pennsylvania, Phillips, who is 46 years old and single, with no children, will make $203,000 a year, "plus performance incentives to be negotiated later." Not bad by Portland standards.

She makes $115,533 in Pennsylvania now.

Comments (15)

What does her not having children have to do with anything?

Only one mouth to feed on $203K, "plus." It must be nice.

No kidding. Must be nice.

Klug - One thing bad parents gripe about is teachers who have no children themselves.

A Superintendent who has no kids is actually fine, it's not an issue for me either way. But I give the hippies & whiners in PDX about 15 minutes before someone whines about how the new Superintendent of PPS 'never had a child of her own in the system.'

The clock starts... now.

Does paying this woman $203,000.00 plus performance incentives give good example to why our schools are short on funds?

For that job, that's not too bad. I'm actually from Pennsylvania, and my school district growing up had about 1500-2000 kids. And the superintedent made $150K. bigger job in Portland.

Rob - Yes, and no.

The USA's spending-per-student is near the top of the international list. But the amount spent on each teacher in the USA - on average - near the bottom. Why? Too many managers/programs in the middle. (no link)

Our school district has a ton of 'program groups' for questionably necesary goals. And each group is headed by a non-teacher who makes a fair amount. Each group also has a noticeable support staff, as well as office space, and other business expenses.

And yes, $203,000 - with further monies to-be-determined is a bit hard to swallow. It may not be out of line in the 'industry' of education - but it is a lot for a district that keeps asking for more of my money.

I wonder if she will stack the cards like a previous PPS Superintendent did, and walk out early with a huge pay-off. I have no knowledge of Ms. Phillips' character, but the folks paying her salary (such as me) should be concerned that she doesn't scoop up a huge bucket of cash during a short-term vacation in PDX.

It would be funny -- if it was.

It would be LESS revolting -- if it was.

Yes, she will make $203K a year - $5K of which will come from a private local foundation not the district. $189K is the national average for urban school districts. And, I for one won't condemn her salary until I see how she performs.

Also, I don't think the fact that she is single with no children is at all relevant. Should we base people's salary on the size of their family or their performance history? She has a proven track record of closing the achievement gap, increasing test scores for high-achievers, increasing community involvement, increasing grant awards, and increasing business financial support. If she can do this for Portland - she is definately worth the cost.

I think I'll reserve my judgement until we see how she does also.

I would bet that the Oregon Education Association would have volunteered to perform the district supervisory role for free -- as a team.

Salary aside, the issue is loyalty. This makes the job inherently short term. I don’t know whether it would be better to have an elected position rather than a school board appointment. The function performed is more like a fund raising cheerleader and PR person just like the OEA or the United Way, or the Governor for that matter.

She would need to make over $420,000 to beat out both the US President and the New York head of United Way. A salary of $503,000 would have been better – better for invoking an effective political backlash.

Just as Bill Gate’s wealth serves as an inspiration to others, regardless of how few actually succeed, the high end school positions breeds tolerance for excess because each lower level person aspires to the rich position. Low pay at the top would just decimate morale – particularly the morale of the impatient politically ambitious ones.

Please tell me you are being funny. Not laughing yet but I will try.

If I merely said the there should be an upper limit of 60k for all public employees it would be taken as just plain mean and insensitive or down right evil. 60K is plenty to raise three kids in a modest home. Tax deferred things would have come out of the 60k rather than on top of it and the pay must be in full satisfaction of the labor services at the end of each pay period - period.

You will not hear a single peep out of Vivki about the obvious political and economic absurdity of current retirement issues. Honesty and wisdom could save Portland hundreds of millions for the benefit of educating the kids. Vivki's first statement to the press pledged a commitment to "staff." I cannot think of a more political statement than that. The teachers will support Vivki because she will sacrifice kids for the teacher’s pecuniary self-interest -- just like the OEA. That "staff" support statement was purposeful, if not coached, to appease the OEA; who are intimately involved in the elections of the board.

Humor is the great elixir to either joy or tragedy. Expressing negativity would be just too depressing – the Donald Sutherland character in Kelly’s Heroes didn’t like to hear negative waves, nor do I.

The selection process was a vetting process based on the politics of staff over education. Vicki is battle-hardened by rising through the ranks of staff. Vicki is interchangeable with Karin, politically. I'm sure there are some people who are snickering all the way to the bank.

"You will not hear a single peep out of Vivki about the obvious political and economic absurdity of current retirement issues. Honesty and wisdom could save Portland hundreds of millions for the benefit of educating the kids. Vivki's first statement to the press pledged a commitment to "staff." I cannot think of a more political statement than that. The teachers will support Vivki because she will sacrifice kids for the teacher’s pecuniary self-interest -- just like the OEA. That "staff" support statement was purposeful, if not coached, to appease the OEA; who are intimately involved in the elections of the board."


"You will not hear a single peep out of Vivki about the obvious political and economic absurdity of current retirement issues. Honesty and wisdom could save Portland hundreds of millions for the benefit of educating the kids. Vivki's first statement to the press pledged a commitment to "staff." I cannot think of a more political statement than that. The teachers will support Vivki because she will sacrifice kids for the teacher’s pecuniary self-interest -- just like the OEA. That "staff" support statement was purposeful, if not coached, to appease the OEA; who are intimately involved in the elections of the board."


In Lancaster County we are rejoicing at your new found super. That means - she leave Pennsylvania!

Check out my website (a not-for-profit site I might add!) which highlights or in this case lowlights some of the stuff that happened under her watch! All I can say is - watch your purse!



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