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Forgoing Bonus A Wise Step Toward School Peace

Hartford Superintendent Kishimoto Sidesteps Resumption Of Hostilities

Hartford Courant Editorial

October 15, 2012

It's just as well that Hartford schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto withdrew her demand for $15,450 in bonus money on top of her current annual salary of $231,000.

It's not the time for the well-compensated superintendent to be haggling with a recalcitrant board of education over a bonus even if the board is, as she claims, legally obligated to give it to her. It says it's not.

The bonus issue arises just weeks after the superintendent received a poor performance evaluation from the board an evaluation Ms. Kishimoto disputes. It comes at a time when the rupture in the board's relationship with the superintendent over what it regards as her communications shortcomings is starting to mend; that shouldn't be stressed. And when the cash-starved city of Hartford faces a budget deficit and is laying off employees.

And at the same time the public is hearing about outrageously high raises being given and then suspended for administrators at the state Board of Regents of Higher Education.

People must wonder if the whole education bureaucracy has gone haywire.

On Saturday, Ms. Kishimoto thought better of her demand. She issued a statement saying that "pursuit of a bonus, even if contractually obligated, is an unnecessary distraction at this point from the shared responsibility the board members and I have to continue the important work in Hartford."

Board Chairman Matt Poland, who Friday said that members were "incredulous" that Ms. Kishimoto requested the bonus "given the evaluation," said after she withdrew the request that "now we can, together, move forward in the business of reform." It's hoped they do just that, for the sake of Hartford's schoolchildren.

Ms. Kishimoto, who worked with her predecessor, Steven Adamowski, to design a successful reform program that is showing results, is the right person to lead Hartford schools. At least for now.

It would be devastating to this city's school system if she were to leave or be pushed out as seems to happen all too often and Hartford would have to start all over, once again, with reform.

Let the board and the superintendent get on the same page and stay there.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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