SRC to Give Hite Five More Years at District Helm

The commission signals approval of the superintendent's steady hand and fiscal management skills in a time of continuing crisis.

Supt. William Hite spoke to reporters, unveiling "Action Plan 3.0."

Supt. William Hite.

For at least two consecutive years, the School Reform Commission has given Superintendent William R. Hite good marks for his leadership, with special praise for his management of the district’s still-precarious finances.

At its Dec. 17 meeting, the commission intends to express its continued confidence in Hite by extending his contract for a second five-year term. The SRC announced its intent this morning in a press release.

“It is crucial that we ensure leadership continuity in the The School District of Philadelphia,” SRC Chair Marjorie Neff  said in the written statement. “Dr. Hite has demonstrated strong leadership through an extraordinarily difficult time, provided sound fiscal oversight and implemented a vision that builds on our school system’s strengths with a focus on equity and high expectations.”

A notable change in the new contract is the removal of a clause granting him bonuses for his performance. Each year since taking the helm, Hite has refused to accept these bonuses despite performance that would warrant them, so the SRC’s new contract will simply adjust his salary to match the annual salary raises teachers receive.

Hite’s current five-year contract expires at the end of August 2017. The extension will expire in August 2022.

In the most recent annual performance review, the commission praised Hite for the budgetary gains he made over the last year, including securing $50 million in recurring revenue and positioning the district to make it through six months (so far) without a state budget. The report continues, “While these achievements are significant, they do not alleviate the need for substantial additional resources for our schools.”

The SRC’s announcement also included statements of support from Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, and Gov. Tom Wolf.

“I have visited many schools in Philadelphia with Superintendent Hite, and his enthusiasm toward his students and the mission of educational improvement is always refreshing,” Wolf said in the statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with him to improve schools and the education of children.”