HISD Gives Out Bonuses Like They're Going Out Of Style

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You should feel really bad if you work for HISD and you didn't get a bonus this year.

The school district announced this morning that 88 percent of eligible employees got a bonus because of the "tremendous academic growth of its students."

The total handed out rose from $24 million last year to $31 million this year.

"HISD holds the highest of standards for academic student growth. We are so pleased that so many of our staff exceeded this standard" said HISD Superintendent of Schools Abelardo Saavedra. "It is great to be able to have a board that supports such a cutting-edge program to recognize employees for making a positive impact on the lives of students."

The average bonus was $2,777; the highest was $8,580.

Of course, things are more complicated than the HISD release implies.

The formula used to decide who is eligible for a bonus and who gets it is nothing you want to look at (here's a sample of some of it).

And then there's quotes like this:

The ASPIRE Awards Program model divides growth into four groups, known as quartiles. There was growth in all of the quartiles, but only those in the top half receive bonuses. "There are teachers who did not receive an ASPIRE award this year. This does not necessarily mean that their students or their campus didn't grow academically or that they are poor teachers. It simply means that their performance was not in the top 50 percent for last year across the district," noted Dr. Saavedra.

Which makes our head hurt, frankly.

Anyway, there's sure to be bitching, as there has been in the past, about who got what and how it was decided. We're just glad the district is doing so darn well, both academically and financially. Apparently.

Update: Once again, the Chronicle does a nice public service with a searchable database of who got what.

-- Richard Connelly

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