The Philadelphia School Reform Commission yesterday approved a contract for superintendent William Hite that will pay him $300,000 annually.
Hite, 51, was selected last month to replace Arlene Ackerman. He will be charged with bringing some stability to a district which has 249 schools, an estimated 146,000 students, a $2.5 billion budget and has dealt with mind-boggling deficits over the last few years that have led to massive layoffs and school closures.
Hite will be tardy for the start of the school year, beginning the job full-time Oct. 1 as he finishes his commitment as superintendent of Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland. Until then, Hite will work two days per week and get paid a daily rate.
"That's a really heavy lift and its starting to become heavy already," Hite said yesterday about the transition in a telephone interview. Although he would like to be more involved in plans for school opening, Hite said he plans to be here for the first day of school.
"I plan to be present for first day of school in Philadelphia so I'll get to see first-hand the opening and how well staff can execute on that," he said.
As superintendent in Prince George's County, Hite had a salary of $250,000. While he will get a nice raise, it will be less than the $325,000 Ackerman received when she was hired in 2008. The five-year contract includes a performance bonus worth up to $60,000 after the second year, but does not feature a retention bonus.
The contract requires Hite to establish residency in Philadelphia within four months. The district will reimburse him up to $22,500 for his relocation expenses and legal fees related to negotiating the contract.
If Hite is fired with cause, the district will not be responsible to pay his salary beyond the date of termination. Ackerman infamously walked away with a $905,000 buyout package.
The district will also pay for a $1 million life insurance policy. He also receives five weeks vacation.
The contract also includes $25,000 annually to be paid to a retirement fund.
Familiar with Philly
A native of Virginia, Hite has a master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor's degree and doctorate in educational leadership from Virginia Tech. He spent summers in Philadelphia as a child visiting his uncle, who lived in the Germantown area.