Earnings = Performance

The big raise awarded to Superintendent Edwin Diaz by the Gilroy
Unified School District Board of Trustees is a crying shame.
The big raise awarded to Superintendent Edwin Diaz by the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees is a crying shame.

It’s not the money – though jumping from $135,450 to $175,000 annually is a notable hike – it’s that the increase demonstrates that nothing has changed. It’s business as usual … the superintendent hasn’t had a raise since July, 2001 … the new superintendent in Morgan Hill is making more money … the superintendent’s salary is now competitive for the area … blah, blah, blah.

What we need is true accountability. And that should start at the top.

A significant amount of Edwin Diaz’s earnings – or any superintendent’s for that matter – should be tied to performance.

Unfortunately, school trustees have missed an opportunity to take accountability to the next level by starting at the top with a list of measurable goals that are tied to money. The discussion within GUSD about posting student test scores outside of teacher’s classrooms, or implementing merit pay for teachers are absolutely worthless unless hard numbers are used to evaluate the person charged with leading the district.

For the superintendent, accountability should be tied to money.

Performance-based measurements should include the basics like test scores, API growth and improvement goals for students just learning English. But they should also include priorities identified by school board members. Examples that might include: The completion of annual principal and teacher evaluations; 100 percent participation in Edline for Gilroy High School teachers, an on-line strategy recommendation report, expectations regarding facilities project completion and cost control and an increase in student attendance numbers.

The goals should be clear, quantifiable and public, so that taxpayers, the superintendent and all district employees know exactly what school trustess believe are the over-arching priorities to improve student performance in Gilroy.

But alas, accountability remains fuzzy and feel good in GUSD. The superintendent has goals but you won’t find them on the GUSD Web site and those goals certainly are quantifiable to the extent that the amount of money earned is based on reaching particular numbers.

If performance-based earnings that were clear to the entire community were a reality at the top, do you think it would begin to have an impact throughout the school district?

Frankly, under an accountability-based model, Superintendent Diaz should have an opportunity to earn significantly more than $175,000 per year.

Is isn’t the money we’re calling into question, it’s the mindset.

If Gilroy school trustees really believe in accountability, they should change the model. Accountability should start at the top and the truth is “business as usual” isn’t going to get the job done.

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