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A peek at Ackerman's pay and perks

1st-year package totals 494G

THE Philadelphia School District yesterday made public the contract of its incoming chief executive officer, Arlene Ackerman, nearly three weeks after she signed the document.

Ackerman, who officially begins work on June 1, will run the 167,000-student district for five years and receive in the first year a compensation package worth $494,000, according to the nine-page contract.

Ackerman, 61, signed the deal on May 6 along with Sandra Dungee Glenn, chairwoman of the School Reform Commission, and Sherry A. Swirsky, the district's general counsel.

"Legal did its due diligence," Cecilia Cummings, the district's senior vice president of communications and community relations, said in explaining the delayed release.

"We are releasing it in an effort for full transparency," she added.

In March, the school district announced that Ackerman's base salary would be $325,000 - $50,000 more than the salary paid to Paul Vallas, the district's former CEO.

Ackerman's year-one $494,000 compensation package, however, is less the $516,869 that Vallas received during 2006-07, his final year in office.

In addition to her base pay, Ackerman could receive a $65,000 performance bonus, an annual retention bonus of just over $33,000 that would be payable in a lump sum of $100,000 after three years, and a $65,000 supplemental pension.

The school district will also pay for a $1,000,000 term life insurance policy on Ackerman's life during the term of the contract. The cost to the school district will be about $6,000 a year.

Vallas' last performance bonus was $55,000, his supplemental pension was $80,869 and he received a $100,000 retention bonus for each of his five years in office.

Ackerman's base-pay will increase over the life of her contract in accordance with raises that are given to teachers, Cummings said.

The new CEO is entitled to select medical, dental, vision and prescription drug plans that are available to other senior school district employees.

The contract also provides Ackerman with a series of perks.

She will receive 34 vacation days each year. The school district will provide her with a "late model car or similar vehicle" for her business and personal use. She will be given a BlackBerry, a cell phone, a laptop computer, a home printer and a fax machine.

"It's a contract for a very accomplished professional, and it's comparable to contracts for superintendents in other large school districts," Cummings said.

The school district will pay up to $15,000 to move Ackerman to Philadelphia. She had been an education professor at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York.

Before that, Ackerman was superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, from 2000 to 2006. From 1998 to 2000, she was superintendent of Washington, D.C. Public Schools.

Ackerman began her career as a school teacher in her native St. Louis, Mo. Divorced with two grown sons and three granddaughters, Ackerman holds a doctorate from Harvard University in administration planning and social policy.

Also from Harvard, she has a master's degree in education, a master's degree in educational administration and policy from Washington University in St. Louis, and a bachelor's degree from Harris Stowe Teachers College, in St. Louis. *