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On report-card day, Philly superintendent gets good marks, and a raise

Along with a strong evaluation from his bosses, the School Reform Commission, William R. Hite Jr. is getting the first raise of his five-year superintendency. He'll be making $311,760 per year.

Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.
Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.Read moreJESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer

William R. Hite Jr., Philadelphia's school superintendent, earned strong marks — and a raise — from his bosses on the School Reform Commission, according to an evaluation released Monday.

For the 2016-17 school year, Hite was rated "distinguished" in three areas — district operations and financial management; communication and community relations; and professionalism. He earned the next-highest grade, "proficient," in student growth and achievement; systems leadership; and human resources management.

The superintendent, whose contract runs through August 2022, also gets a raise, the first of his career in Philadelphia. He will make $311,760 annually, a salary bump of 3.92 percent; he had been earning $300,000. Hite's raises are tied to the average base salary increase for teachers, who ratified their first new contract in years in June.

SRC members cited Hite's "leadership and unwavering focus" in their strong evaluation.

"The results of Dr. Hite's steady leadership are evident across the School District of Philadelphia," the five-member SRC said in a statement. "These include another year with a balanced budget, sustained investments in classrooms, a contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and, most importantly, the increased academic achievement of our students.  While there is still much to be done, we would like to thank Dr. Hite for providing Philadelphia with strong and consistent leadership, which has been critical in moving us forward."

Philadelphia students' test scores inched up in the 2016-17 school year. Overall, 33 percent passed the test in reading, and 19 percent passed in math, up one percentage point each over the previous year's scores. The district saw notable gains in early literacy, an area of special focus for Hite.

Hite's grades improved over the previous school year's in a few areas. He moved up to distinguished from proficient in professionalism and communications and community relations, and from needs improvement to proficient in human resources management. (On Hite's watch, the district was plagued by teacher vacancies and a substitute-teaching crisis in the 2015-16 school year.)