City schools release contract with Boston

September 30, 2006|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,SUN REPORTER

The Baltimore school board is paying interim Chief Executive Officer Charlene Cooper Boston a base salary of $212,000 this school year, plus giving her the opportunity to earn tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses, according to information the school system released yesterday.

Before bonuses, Boston's compensation package, which includes retirement benefits, will be $286,200. After bonuses, it could reach $324,200.

Three months after Boston started her new job, the school system released a copy yesterday of its contract with her, signed July 20. The Sun has repeatedly requested a copy of the contract since Boston's appointment was announced in June.

The compensation package is slightly more than what the board gave former CEO Bonnie S. Copeland, who stepped down July 1 amid criticism of her management style. It is in line with the compensation of superintendents in Maryland's other large school systems.

Leading a struggling urban system such as Baltimore's is considered by many to be one of the hardest jobs in the nation. With an enrollment of about 83,000 students, the city school system is the fourth-largest in the state.

The contract says Boston is to serve as interim CEO until July 2007, by which time officials plan to name a permanent replacement. School board Chairman Brian D. Morris said in an interview this week with the editorial board of The Sun that Boston will be a candidate for the permanent position if she wants to be considered. But he said that the board is preparing to hire a search firm to recruit candidates from across the country.

The contract requires the board to contribute 35 percent of Boston's salary - $74,200 this year - to "supplemental income programs," such as retirement funds. It also allows her to earn up to $38,000 in bonuses for improvements in academic performance, management efficiencies and special education, and for implementing innovative programs.

Under the contract, Boston is also provided with a car; a cell phone; and an answering machine, fax machine and computer at her home.

Boston served as superintendent of Wicomico County schools for four years before becoming interim CEO in the city. Previously, the Baltimore native had spent 35 years as a teacher and administrator in city schools.

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