Intelligence Report: Changing CPS CEOs comes at a cost

October 24, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The cost of change can be expensive, magnified at the Chicago Public Schools, which is coming off an expensive teacher's strike.

Late Wednesday, Board of Education members formally approved the personal services contract for incoming CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, but her salary and a few perks aren't the only costs of change.

Byrd-Bennett was installed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to lead the Chicago Public Schools, just 17 months after Mayor Emanuel had installed Jean-Claude Brizard to lead the Chicago Public Schools.

That transition was given an official stamp of budget approval Wednesday by the CPS board. It comes with a hefty price tag.

This is the cost of change:

  • For the outgoing Brizard, 14 months of salary due under his contract, totaling $300,000;
  • Add that to Byrd-Bennett's salary, approved Wednesday at $250,000 per year, matching Brizard, along with $30,000 for moving expenses from Detroit and an unspecified amount of potential bonuses;
  • That drives the salary cost for the schools' top executive position to at least $580,000 for the rest of this year and next year.

In the scheme of school finances, $580,000 doesn't amount to much, a little more than a dollar per student.

It is especially inconsequential when you consider the size of the Chicago public school deficit, expected to be about $1 billion by the end of this school year.

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