Even as it voted to approve modest raises for its administrators last week, some members of the school board at Oak Park and River Forest High School seemed to be moving toward "a new philosophy" for compensating the school's leaders.
We're all for that conversation for administrators and know that it is inevitable if the school is also serious about taking a fresh look at how it evaluates and rewards its teachers. You can't open serious talk of merit pay for faculty if top administrators get raises for simple longevity.
The vote to hand out average hikes of 2.5 percent was 6-1 with the usual objection coming from Sharon Patchak-Layman, a longtime and often isolated school board member. What was unusual this time was that other board members agreed with her. President John Phelan and newcomers Jeff Weissglass and Steve Gevinson suggested they thought "a new philosophy" might make sense going forward.
While most top staff got the 2.5 percent bump, the board also signed off on more notable hikes — 5.93 percent to 9.42 percent — for five administrators, based on the hoary educational tradition of the wages paid at "cohort schools." In this case, the cohort is the Northwest Personnel Administrators (NWPA), a group so notable we've never heard of it and could not find a web page. There is no end to over-inflated salary hikes in education until this practice is ended.