“As graduation rates were bottoming out at the City Colleges of Chicago in 2009, Chancellor Wayne Watson was cashing out” with a $800,000 golden parachute, charges the Better Government Association.
On top of roughly $537,000 in sick- and vacation-day payouts, Watson also was given an exit bonus of $124,615, according to City Colleges records recently obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. What’s more, City Colleges is providing him with free health care coverage for life – costing the system more than $22,000 to date in premiums and reimbursements – and a life insurance policy that he was allowed to cash out for $112,602, records show.
Graduation rates within the City Colleges system – which serves more than 100,000 students at seven main campuses – fell from 13 percent in 1999, Watson’s first full year as chancellor, to 7 percent in 2009, when he left.
“This would be like giving a performance bonus to the captain of the Titanic,” says Andy Shaw, CEO of the BGA.
Watson is now president of Chicago State University, which also has a very low graduation rate. He’s paid $250,000 a year and lives in a university house. His annual pension from City Colleges is nearly $140,000.