Cleveland schools CEO gets $54,000 bonus

CLEVELAND (AP) - The city school board approved a $54,000 bonus for the district CEO days after cutting the jobs of 52 assistant principals and 172 teachers.
The bonus approved in June was the second annual 20 percent bonus for Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who also got a 3 percent pay raise effective in July to raise her base salary to $278,000 per year.
"We value the work of Barbara Byrd-Bennett far more than this performance compensation can reflect," said board chairwoman Margaret Hopkins.
Byrd-Bennett (pictured with student, above) said she was delighted to receive the bonus and pointed out the $54,000 would not have offset the district's budget problems. The average Cleveland teacher makes $43,345.
Mayor Jane Campbell, who signed off on the bonus, praised Byrd-Bennett's performance in bringing up test scores and attendance rates in the 72,700-student district, Ohio's largest.
"In this town we pay athletes millions of dollars," Campbell said. "What matters most is the education of our children. I want her paid as the most valuable player she is."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)