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Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez gets $10,200 raise

A man shakes hands with students wearing backpacks in front of a school building.

CEO Pedro Martinez’s salary boost came after the board met privately to evaluate Martinez’s first-year performance.

Mauricio Peña / Chalkbeat

After more than a year on the job, Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez is getting a $10,200 raise, bringing his salary to $350,200 — an increase approved Wednesday by the city’s school board.

Martinez led the district through a tumultuous year of pandemic recovery that included another decline in enrollment, five days of canceled classes during negotiations between CPS and its teachers union over COVID safety, and the passage of an unprecedented $9 billion budget that includes a windfall of federal COVID relief funding. He joined the district last fall after students had already returned to the classroom.

Martinez’s previous salary of $340,000 was higher than the $300,000 made by his predecessor, Janice Jackson.

The salary increase came after a board closed-session meeting to evaluate Martinez’s performance in his first year with the district. Board members approved contract changes without public discussion or sharing details of his evaluation. His contract runs through June 2026. 

Martinez earned $315,000 annually in his previous role as superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District.

At the start of the school year, Martinez promised one of the “strongest years ever” for the district.

Fewer students, across all racial groups, met academic standards during the 2020-21 school year, according to data shared at a board meeting in August. National test scores also showed steep declines in reading and math — a fallout from pandemic-related disruptions. 

As part of his yet-to-be-detailed three-year blueprint, Martinez has said he wants to improve services for students with disabilities, strengthen career and technical education, and expand after-school and summer offerings for students. 

Martinez, a graduate of Chicago Public Schools and the University of Illinois, started his path to school administration through accounting. After working in the private sector and at the Archdiocese of Chicago in the mid-2000s, Martinez worked as the district’s chief financial officer under then-CEO Arne Duncan. That job, he told Chalkbeat last year, “really launched my pathway to becoming a superintendent.”

Mauricio Peña is a reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago, covering K-12 schools. Contact Mauricio at mpena@chalkbeat.org.

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