New LA Unified superintendent signs $350,000 contract


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New L.A. Unified superintendent Michelle King made her appointment official on Tuesday when she signed a nearly two-and-a-half year contract offered by the school board.

“Ms. King, with this pen, I thee contract,” said school board president Steve Zimmer in the school board chambers after the board emerged from a closed-door session.

The new superintendent’s $350,000 salary is $50,000 more than what predecessor Ramon Cortines was paid, and it's roughly $47,000 more than her salary as chief deputy superintendent of schools.

The nine-page contract provides King with a school district car and driver, and security if necessary. Outside consulting or employment must be approved by the school board.

The contract also includes the board’s ambitious goals for the new superintendent, asking for her to bring the district to a perfect performance that no urban district in the country has achieved.

It asks King to lift the district's graduation rate to 100 percent – 30 percentage points higher than the current rate. The board also wants her to achieve 100 percent attendance, proficiency for all students, and engagement of parents and families.

Such performance goals were not in Cortines’ contract, but they were included in his predecessor John Deasy’s contract. Deasy’s contract included three specific, more incremental goals for him to meet and the promise of incentive pay if he met the goals. For example, Deasy would have been paid an additional $10,000 for each eight percentage point increase in the graduation rate. King’s contract does not go into this level of detail or offer incentive pay.

The contract doesn’t prescribe consequences if the superintendent doesn’t meet the broad goals, nor does it require the board to conduct a formal evaluation of King. However, the contract does schedule her first performance review for October.