Miami-Dade Schools

New salary, long contract extension proposed for Miami-Dade school superintendent

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho may parlay a successful year into a long-term contract extension and a new salary based on his “fair market value.”

When School Board members meet next week, they will likely vote on a proposal to extend Carvalho’s contract an extra five years to 2020, and to overhaul his salary, which has stood at $275,000 since he was promoted to superintendent in late 2008. Board Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman is tasked with negotiating the new deal.

“This superintendent has done wonders for the school district,” Tabares Hantman, who placed a contract addendum on this month’s agenda, said in an interview. She cited the district’s winning the 2012 Broad Prize, perhaps the nation’s most distinguished award for large, urban schools, and Carvalho’s successful push for a $1.2 billion capital bond referendum as “evidence our school district is moving in the right direction.”

She also hoped that adding an extra seven years to his contract “will dispel uncertainties and questions that continue to arise that he may be leaving us.”

But when other board members heard the contract proposal Wednesday during committee meetings, they weren’t sold. The problem: The proposal didn’t compensate Carvalho enough. Where Tabares Hantman suggested increasing Carvalho’s salary at a rate equal to the average teacher raise awarded last year - worth about $7,600 - other board members said Carvalho is underpaid and deserving of an entirely new salary.

Board member Carlos Curbelo said he researched the compensation of other local officials Wednesday morning and found the district was “getting a good deal” on Carvalho’s package. He compared Carvalho’s base salary to that of Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya ($590,000); Beacon Council CEO Frank Nero ($270,000); and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s deputy mayors, like Ed Marquez ($266,000), among others.

“I would include in this item an opportunity for the chair to negotiate a raise more substantial than the one that is already included in the language, based on what the market rate is, what the fair market value is for this position,” Curbelo said, also proposing that the new contract include incentives.

Curbelo also compared Carvalho’s compensation to that of Dwight Jones, superintendent of Clark County., NV, the fifth-largest district in the country. Miami-Dade is the nation’s fourth-largest district, with close to 350,000 students and a roughly $4 billion total budget.

Jones’ compensation package is a shade under $400,000 a year, according to Transparent Nevada, a website run by the Nevada Policy Research Institute. Jones, coincidentally, submitted a resignation letter Tuesday, according to The Las Vegas Review Journal.

Carvalho’s contract includes a $900 monthly expense account, a new district car lease every two years, cell phone, sick and vacation days and three $6,000-a-year insurance policies. But Carvalho, who began his career with the district as a science teacher, said Wednesday that he has left much of the contract perks on the table.

“I would have never shared that in the middle of our darkest hours, but now that we’re emerging from that I think it’s fair for people to know,” Carvalho said.

He said he is still driving the car predecessor Rudy Crew drove when he was superintendent. He said he’s never “cashed in” on his insurance policies, worth $30,000 each over his four-plus years as superintendent. He said he cut back his district cell phone when the district’s budget was tight, donated sick days to teachers, and gave pay from speaking appearances to the district.

According to the district, he has allowed $98,000 in vacation days to expire and has not accepted automatic raises since he took the job in 2008. (Carvalho said district wage records reflecting his base salary as $277,700 were inaccurate.)

As for ongoing negotiations, Carvalho told board members he won’t negotiate a deal that breaks the bank.

“I do think a fair compensation can be determined. But I can tell you I would not accept anything close to what some of the folks who do public work or private are right now earning. It’s not in me,” he said. “The calling goes well beyond the checking account.”

A previous version of this article misstated the value of Beacon Council CEO Frank Nero's base salary, which is $270,000, according to a Beacon Council spokeswoman. The value stated in the story is actually the approximate value of Nero's total compensation.

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