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Principals could reap benefits from test scores

By Staff
POSSIBLE RAISE John Lisenbe, principal of Crestwood Elementary School, looks over his school's report card for the 2002-2003 school year. Beginning this year, most Meridian public school principals could receive up to an 8 percent raise based on students' standardized test scores. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
May 25, 2004
Starting this summer, most Meridian public school principals could receive up to an 8 percent pay raise based on their school's standardized test scores.
The increase comes at the same time public school teachers in Meridian and across the state will receive 8 percent raises this fall. Principals, however, are not eligible to receive those raises.
John Lisenbe, Crestwood Elementary School principal, said the principal raises are fair because "everything now is accountability-oriented, and I think that is what they are trying to do with the pay raise."
Meridian School Superintendent Sylvia Autry said she wants to make sure principals are rewarded for improvements in student achievement. The school board approved the principal pay raise plan last week.
The raises are based on two factors: a school's performance classification that is assigned by the state Department of Education and a school's improvement over a one-year period.
Performance classifications
For example, Crestwood Elementary was rated a Level 3, or "successful" school, in 2002-2003.
If the school receives a Level 4, or "exemplary," rating by the state Department of Education this summer, Lisenbe will receive an 8 percent raise. That would move his salary from $57,350 to $61,938.
If the school remains a Level 3, Lisenbe will receive a 4 percent pay raise, which would move his salary to $59,644. If the school classification falls, then Lisenbe will not receive a raise.
Scores from this year's Mississippi Curriculum Test, which is given to students in the second through the eighth grades, will be available in July. Schools will receive their performance classifications in August.
Meridian High School's performance classification will be based on scores from the Subject Area Tests in Algebra I and Biology.
Eligible principals
All Meridian school principals are eligible for the raise except for those at Meridian High, Carver Middle and Kate Griffin Junior High schools.
MHS Principal R.D. Harris signed a two-year contract with the school district at a fixed salary. Carver Middle and Kate Griffin Junior High school principals begin their first school year in office this fall.
Autry said principals' salaries will remain unchanged until the performance classifications are released.
Autry said she wanted to reward principals even though the school district is working with about $1.7 million less than it did last year.