Charter group CEO offered three-year contract with added pay for meeting key goals

After protracted review, the New Beginnings Schools Foundation this week approved a three-year contract for its chief executive officer, Sametta Brown, a package heavy on incentive pay meant to encourage greater accountability.

On top of a base salary of $140,000, Brown will be able to earn up to $35,000 by reaching specified performance benchmarks. The base pay amounts to a raise of about 8 percent raise.

Brown has been retained month to month since her initial one-year contract — for $130,000 — expired in October 2013, board chairman Ramsey Green said, noting that the Brown’s compensation falls in the median range for heads of charter school networks in New Orleans.

Green said the board wanted Brown’s new three-page contract, with its two pages of designated goals, to be much more specific and narrow than her initial one-page contract.

“This is hitting the reset button on the leadership at New Beginnings,” Green said.

The board decided to give Brown a raise in a way that would hold her accountable for the four-school network’s performance, Green said.

The incentive pay — up to an additional 25 percent of the salary — can be earned by meeting goals in academics, finance, and a third category that combines human resources and staff development. Each category has its own subset of goals and a corresponding percent of incentive pay.

For the 2014-15 school year, Brown’s performance goals are divided as follows:

  • 12 percent for academics

  • 8 percent for finance

  • 5 percent for human resources and staff development

For example, if under Brown’s leadership, Gentilly Terrace Elementary’s performance score rises to “academically acceptable,” she would earn an incentive equivalent to 3 percent of her salary, or $4,200.

In the financial category, if Brown provides the board with satisfactory monthly financial reports, she is eligible for a 2 percent award, or $2,800.

Why reward execution of what seem like routine job duties?

“I agree that it’s an expectation of a CEO, but I can tell you de facto it isn’t something that’s showing up every month” for the charter management organizations, Green said of the monthly reports.

If it’s something that’s been an issue in the past, Green said, “let’s make it something she’s specifically graded on.”

In human resources, Brown must “ensure that 100 percent of all human resource policies and procedures are identified and completed” to earn a 1 percent award, or $1,400.

Green said he would be surprised but “incredibly happy” if Brown earned all $35,000 in incentive pay.

Her benefits include participation in the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana, a benefit that some charters schools have rescinded due to its growing expense.

In lieu of annual leave, Brown will receive $5,000.

“She gets one payout and the expectation is she’s always available even when she’s on vacation,” Green said.

Green said the board also wanted to protect itself from accrued vacation time piling up, requiring a lump-sum payout.

The New Beginnings network enrolls about 2,000 students at its four charter schools: three elementaries and Lake Area New Tech Early College High School.

Green said the board did extensive research to ensure Brown’s salary is in line with other charter school networks in the city. He said he is happy to be able to tell New Beginnings families and staff that the same leader will be in place for three years.

“A three-year contract after a lot of change at the board level I think is an achievement,” Green said.

“We’re really proud of it.”

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About Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned to New Orleans in the fall of 2014 after covering education for the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in journalism and social welfare and a concentration in educational policy studies.

  • nickelndime

    Does New Beginnings Schools Foundation have SO-O-O much public money (our money – that’s taxpayer dollars, folks) that it must spend it – or lose it? This is a ruse – a bad joke – a scam – a taxpayer’s nightmare. Stop with the CEO compensation packages – these guys (and gals) just aren’t that good. “Wealth without work” (look it up). We are looking at gaddam thieves. They are stealing academic “wheelbarrows” (the obvious). They prey upon the poor and the most vulnerable in society. Why? Because they can. Government will not correct this. Our government benefits from poverty. Ask Mitch. But can the rest of us afford it? No, Sametta. Go back to Brian Riedlinger and the Baptist Community Ministries. Go get your salary from them. I have bills to pay and business is bad. I am sick of “doing time” in Louisiana. Ramsey Green – shape up or get on up the block. You are working too damn hard – for what, remains to be seen, but it don’t look proper.

  • “This is hitting the reset button on the leadership at New Beginnings,” Green said…In the sense that you’re keeping in place the same exact leadership you’ve had since 2012?

    “I agree that it’s an expectation of a CEO, but I can tell you de facto it isn’t something that’s showing up every month” Green said of the monthly reports…So then why are you retaining a CEO who can’t meet basic expectations and instead are giving her an 8% raise with the possibility of another 25% on top of that?

  • nickelndime

    New Beginnings is certainly hitting my buttons – all the wrong ones – and they get reset every time I see financial rewards being heaped upon CEOs (used-to-be-called principals – which Sametta certainly is not) for academic and financial JOBS NOT DONE! I would like to see somebody indicted – not these slaps that the LLA “hands” out or violations of open meetings law. The sad part is that New Beginnings is not the only entity rewarding people for incompetence or for not doing what is part of the individual’s job title/responsibilities. Why must I fall down on the floor over and over again? LMAspO at the lunacy in this city? My ASP (that’s my pet snake ASP) got a bum rap that goes all the way back to “The Garden,” an image that he hasn’t been able to shake because of “one bad apple.” How can it be that people like Green and this non-profit CMO just keep forgiving Sametta’s mistakes one right after another? Say “ENOUGH.” Send Sametta back to Riedlinger. He’s got millions of dollars in our public money too. What’s another 6-figure salary in a 7-figure world!

  • nickelndime

    How about this? Start with a base salary of $1,000 for Sametta Green (I mean Brown). Set up a job performance CEO rubric with 139 key goals. Sametta has one year to hit the 139/$140,000 annual mark for the New Beginnings Schools Foundation CEO Compensation Package. Every time Sametta meets a new goal, bells will go off and balloons will be released at the four schools that New Beginnings “oversees,” and I use that word loosely. If Sametta completes all goals, then give her the damn $35,000 incentive pay if Ramsey and the rest of the board still feel the need to squander public money.

  • nickelndime

    Ramsey Green and the New Beginnings Schools Foundation need to get the “de factos” straight ASAP or the “de jures” gonna bites them in their ASPs (their ASPs, not my pet snake ASP). Somebody’s gonna get caught in something they can’t undo in a monthly board business meeting or a forensic audit. I don’t care which CMO gets it first. Don’t be fooled by the PR coming out of the RSD, BESE, or the LDOE. This is a house of cards.

  • R.Rubes

    No one seems to be thinking of the kids at these school. Capdau does not have SINGLE extra curricular activity. I repeat not ONE unless sports teams that kids are hand picked for without try-outs and practice sometimes on the weekend don’t count. No languages, newspaper, yearbook, celebrations, clubs, etc. and half of the classrooms last year did not have working SmartBoards or even projectors. It amazes me that THIS seemed to be the best purpose for extra cash? Show me a reason that Brown deserves more money but the students don’t.

  • nickelndime

    Ramsey Green, Board President of the UNO NEW BEGINNINGS SCHOOLS FOUNDATION, is “happy” that Sametta Brown will be the CEO for three years! Does this board have any clue at all? I am taking wagers out in back of the school that, not only will Sametta not be there, but neither will Ramsey or the board.