Charter Schools Related schools coverage »

College Prep defers vote on doubling bonus; new performance goals set

A vote on whether to double chief executive officer Ben Kleban’s performance-based bonus was deferred Monday until the next New Orleans College Preparatory Academies board meeting.

The board also heard updates from chairs of the governance, finance, and development committees.

Ahead of voting to delay the vote on Kleban’s bonus, the board released new performance goals for the chief executive officer. Among targets Kleban would have to meet to collect the full bonus:

  • 10 points average growth per year in the organization’s school performance scores

  • 90 percent staff retention

  • positive feedback surveys from staff and board members.

Governance committee chair Murray Pitts said the new targets were created by studying  bonus structures for leaders of comparable charter management organizations. The prior  NOCPA standards hark back to a time when it was a one-school operation. Board Chair Peter Harding said that those standards had been based on organizational goals identified by Kleban himself. It seemed appropriate to study what are considered best practices in the field, Harding said.

Among the bonus criteria, some categories, such as sound financial governance and a clean audit, have been met regularly by the management group. And others — such as keeping the campus clean and a new target of re-branding and marketing the organization by the end of the year — are also achievable goals Kleban suggested, noting that a rebranding and marketing team have already been hired. But 10 points of yearly academic growth and higher staff retention (in an organization where teachers averaged 3.54 years of seniority in 2012-13) are rigorous targets, Pitts said. That is reflected in the additional weight they are given in the bonus formula.

The board then considered a motion to double Kleban’s maximum potential bonus from 10 percent of his $143,000 annual salary to 20 percent. Harding noted that Kleban’s bonuses have been small in the past and that, because some of the bonus targets are difficult, he might only meet some of them going forward. He said that by providing a bigger financial incentive, the board could assure that Kleban made its goals a priority.

In the public-comment period, a reporter for The Lens noted that a vote on doubling the bonus was not listed on the agenda, as required by law. Harding said the board has been trying to comply with the state’s open-meetings law but was not aware that votes must be listed in advance. The board put off the vote until its next meeting, tentatively scheduled for 5:30 p.m. June 3 at Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep, though likely to be sooner than that, given the board’s move to a quarterly meeting schedule.

The board had a similar issue in July 2012, when it changed the requirements for Kleban’s bonus after a vote not listed on the agenda.

In other business, Kleban introduced the board to Krystal Hardy, who will be principal of Sylvanie Williams College Prep starting with the  2014-15 school year.

Hardy “has a pretty personal relationship to the work we’re doing,” Kleban said. Hardy described herself as a native of Selma, Ala., and a first-generation college student who believes that “where you come from is not necessarily where you end up.”

Heidi Campbell, Williams’ interim principal, will become the management group’s director of development in the fall. Members said that they had heard good reports on Campbell’s  performance as interim principal.

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.