For the Record: Schools CEO salary

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Even though Jean-Claude Brizard’s current annual salary puts him on the
low end of the market compared to other leaders of large urban school
districts, the fact that it is more than his predecessor is likely to
spur questions as he contends with a $720 million budget deficit. Even though Jean-Claude Brizard’s current annual salary puts him on the low end of the market compared to other leaders of large urban school districts, the fact that it is more than his predecessor is likely to spur questions as he contends with a $720 million budget deficit.

The School Board has yet to approve a final contract for Brizard, but his appointment Wednesday comes with a $250,000 annual salary that lasts through the end of June. 

By that point, the board will likely have approved a longer-term contract

Brizard’s salary is a $15,000 raise from his annual earnings while superintendent of Rochester, New York schools, which has just 32,000 students  compared to 400,000 in Chicago.

It’s also a $20,000 increase from the $230,000 earned by his predecessor, Ron Huberman. 

Brizard could face some tough questions about that pay hike down the line, as he might seek significant salary concessions from the Chicago Teachers Union when the time comes to renegotiate the union’s contract with CPS.

However, Brizard will also earn less than many of his peers in other cities. Most urban district leaders pull in somewhere between $270,000 and $300,000 annually.  In fact, when compared to the earnings of bosses at the other 10 largest urban districts in the country, Brizard’s salary ranks 9th. 

Brizard’s actual earnings may come in below his base rate. Last year, CPS officials said Huberman actually made around $216,000 because of unpaid furlough and vacation days necessitated by the district’s budget shortfall. CPS spokesperson Ana Vargas said no decisions on furloughs have been made in Brizard’s case. 

Other district leaders like Los Angeles superintendent John Deasy have recently taken pay cuts in the face of financial challenges.