LINCOLN PARK — Abraham Lincoln Elementary School Principal Mark Armendariz is standing by his statement against bonuses for Chicago Public Schools principals.
Armendariz learned that he received a $10,000 bonus on Oct. 28, but he decided to donate it to the Friends of Lincoln school group to be used for teacher and professional development. The principal credited his faculty for the improved scores and said he alone shouldn't be awarded for the school's successes.
Armendariz emailed the school's faculty the day after he heard the news of his decision to donate the bonus.
"I was quite opposed to this when it came out in the Tribune a year ago," he said.
Armendariz, who is scheduled to make about $125,000 this year, was given the bonus for improvements in the school's reading and math scores and for closing the gender- and race-based achievement gaps among students.
According to a CPS report, only one in nine African-American students in grades 3 through 8 are exceeding state standards, and a white student is nearly four times more likely to exceed state standards on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test than an African-American student.
Armendariz said that for eighth-grade students, the gap in state test scores between African-American students and white students shrunk to 1.3 percentage points, which he called "phenomenal." The school began addressing the gap six years ago, the principal said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the criteria for the bonuses in November 2011. He said principals at high-performing schools could receive up to $20,000 for boosting student achievement and closing the achievement gap, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
The money for the bonuses was paid for by philanthropists, who established a $5 million fund.