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Payout Flap: Former City Schools CEO Pockets $94,683 After Early Resignation

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Andres Alonso
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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—He’s no longer leading Baltimore City schools but former superintendent Dr. Andres Alonso is walking away with a large paycheck, despite leaving before the end of his contract.

Derek Valcourt has more on how much he’s getting and why.

It’s all money he’s legitimately entitled to under the terms of his contract with the city–though some question why the city allowed such a deal.

It was in front of a packed room of applauding city officials and school leaders when Dr. Andres Alonso announced in May he was leaving Baltimore two years before the end of his contract to take care of his ailing parents in New Jersey. He will also assume a professorship at Harvard University.

“I have no regrets and I feel that if I remained, I would have personal regrets that I would never be able to live with,” Alonso said at the time.

Now, according to our media partner The Baltimore Sun, after his final day on the job, Alonso was paid out $147,000 in unused vacation time, personal days and sick days. That’s nearly $95,000 after taxes.

“We were definitely surprised to see the amount of the payout,” said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, who leads government watchdog group Common Cause Maryland. “It does raise a question of who got to see this contract when it was signed and who made sure that it was in the best interest of the public. So when the city is so aggressively trying to balance the books and get the budget right, it draws particular question to this contract.”

Bevan-Dangle is among those raising questions about how Alonso could terminate his contract early and still get such a lucrative deal at taxpayers’ expense at a time when the city is still trying to balance the budget.

“Because he’s the one severing the contract and if anyone else were to leave a contract mid-stream, typically there would be penalties or be consequences, not a reward. Not a payment in effect for leaving,” she said. “We would definitely like to see outside review of contracts, even in a spot check way or high-level contracts such as this one to make sure none of the terms end up hurting the residents of the city.”

While Alonso has been largely credited with turning around the troubled school system, many parents were surprised to hear about his hefty payout.

“Doesn’t sound right,” said Blayr Callaway.

“Well, I think that’s a little too much for him to be getting,” said Jamie Mintz.

“In most scenarios, when you break a contract, the rest of the contract is also renegotiated,” said Tara Cariaso.

For now, the search for a new superintendent continues.

Alonso could not be reached for comment on this story.

For a link to Common Cause’s website, click here.

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