Schools chief making $325,000 could get first raise with good reviews


Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa is set to officially receive his annual evaluation from school board members Wednesday, and this year money is on the line.

Now midway through his third year in office, Avossa is eligible for a raise for the first time if board members give him an overall rating of “effective” or “highly effective.” In 2016, he received top marks from all seven board members.

The size of Avossa’s raise would depend on his evaluation and how large of a raise the board agrees to give other administrators. Based on past practice and a recent salary deal with the teachers union, the raise for Avossa — whose current base salary is $325,000 a year — could be between $7,000 and $10,000.

In November, board members received evaluation forms and an annual report from Avossa and were asked to return the evaluations last week. The board members’ scores will be tabulated to create an overall evaluation score, which will be publicly unveiled at a board meeting Wednesday.

RELATED: No raise this year for Avossa, but new plan enables future ones

The Palm Beach Post asked Monday to review the evaluation forms submitted by each board member, on the premise that the public is entitled to see them under Florida’s public records law.

But the school district declined to provide the forms, claiming that they are not public records until board members “present and accept” them at Wednesday’s meeting. The Post is disputing the district’s decision.

In his annual report to board members, Avossa highlighted a range of improvements in the county’s public schools, including expanded access to advanced classes, the use of sales tax revenue to improve school facilities, and stepped-up efforts to recruit more teachers.

“They point to increased student success as well as improved and more efficient systems that are better supporting our students,” Avossa wrote.

Board members have been asked to evaluate Avossa by rating his performance on a scale of one to four in five categories: student achievement, board and community relations, human resource management, financial resource management and operations management.

This year, student achievement counts for 30 percent of Avossa’s evaluation, board and community relations counts for 25 percent, and the other three categories count for 15 percent each.

READ: Avossa’s annual report to school board members

Avossa took office in June 2015 with a $325,000 base salary, the highest base pay for a Florida superintendent at the time and one of the highest in the nation.

Since then, the base salaries of the schools superintendents in Miami-Dade and Broward counties have risen to surpass Avossa’s. Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie’s base pay was raised to $335,000 in November and Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s is now $346,000.

Avossa’s original contract did not include any provisions for raises, and a proposal in 2016 to give him a 3 percent raise worth $9,750 failed after it faced criticism from some board members and teachers.

In February, board members agreed to amend his contract so he would automatically receive annual raises in the future, so long as he doesn’t receive a poor evaluation and other administrators receive raises.

Under the amended contract, Avossa’s raises in future years would be equal to those received by other district administrators if he receives a “highly effective” rating.

If his rating is merely “effective,” his raise would be one percentage point less than that of other administrators. If his rating is lower than “effective,” he would receive no raise.

The raise would be retroactive to July 1.

Pay increases for administrators usually mirror those of teachers and other school district employees, but Avossa said last week that other district workers this year likely will receive lower increases than teachers, who last week reached a tentative deal for average pay increases of 3.2 percent.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Police: Man stays at bar for 30 minutes after being stabbed
Police: Man stays at bar for 30 minutes after being stabbed

A man who was stabbed early Thursday morning while at a Pittsburgh bar remained at the establishment for 30 minutes before leaving, investigators said. Police were called about 2 a.m. to a residential area near Pollock’s Cafe. Investigators said the 40-year-old victim was stabbed in the shoulder after he apparently got into a fight with another...
Arizona teachers approve strike, will walk out next Thursday
Arizona teachers approve strike, will walk out next Thursday

Arizona teachers voted in favor of a strike Thursday night as the educators demanded higher wages and better classroom conditions, KTAR reported. The walkout is scheduled for next Thursday. “Seventy-eight percent of the school employees in this state said yes,” Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association said during...
2 Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant
2 Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant

Two Florida sheriff’s deputies were killed Thursday, shot through the window of a Chinese restaurant as they shared a meal, The Gainesville Sun reported. The man who allegedly shot the Gilchrist County deputies was found dead in a car outside the restaurant, authorities said. Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, and Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 29, were...
Little progress year after Jupiter bought lot to ease traffic woes
Little progress year after Jupiter bought lot to ease traffic woes

It’s been a year since the Town of Jupiter bought a 2-acre lot next to Jupiter High School with the goal of improving safety for motorists. But since the $2.8 million purchase on April 4, 2017, little progress has been made. “We have cleared the land,” said Mayor Todd Wodraska about the vacant property, which had become a dumping...
Palm Beach Gardens voters to get 3 ballot questions in August
Palm Beach Gardens voters to get 3 ballot questions in August

Palm Beach Gardens voters may have a sense of deja vu come August when they see similar questions on their ballots to those that appeared in March. Palm Beach Gardens is revisiting proposed changes to term limits and the city charter, after a judge tossed questions from the March ballot. The judge determined the questions were misleading after the...
More Stories