Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Raises for ICCSD Administration: A Proposal

I've argued previously (see here) that we have our budget problems primarily because (a) we rely too heavily on grants that expired, and (b) that our cost of living raises have tended to far exceed yearly state supplemental aid (allowable growth).

On the May 13 board meeting, the board approved, on a 5-2 vote, that central administrators were not to receive a raise for the upcoming school year. Now, the administration will be proposing tonight an interpretation of that vote which (a) gives six central administrators (the superintendent, the two assistant superintendents, CFO, COO, and the head of HR/communication) no raise next year, but (b) gives other administration employees a significant raise. As the board meeting tonight, the administration is proposing to increase the budget category for administration from this year to next year by approximately 2.66% (see the Press-Citizen's article on the matter here). There is reason to think that this number is artificially low, since (a) six of the highest paid administrators are not receiving raises, and (b) there was some attrition that was not filled.

It is important for the board to find out tonight what the actual proposed raises are for all administrators.

Furthermore, the school board should modify these proposed raises.

Here would be my modified proposal: 

(a) accept the part of the proposal that the six administrators will receive no raises for next year.

(b) set the raise for a given year (2014-2015 in this case) for all other administrators, including the other central administration employees and building administrators (e.g., principals) at no more than the average of allowable growth of that year and the prior four years. 

2015 will have a 4% allowable growth, 2014 had 2%, 2013 had 2%, 2012 had 0%, and 2011 had 2%. The State Board of Education provides these figures here. The average of that five year period was exactly 2%. With this figure in mind, set the raises of all employees who have not yet negotiated contracts at no more than 2%, which would be in line with allowable growth rates over the past 5 years.

There are three major benefits to this approach: first, it stops digging an even larger budget hole. We will have to pay the piper again if we continue on this trajectory. Do we want more budget cuts? Second, it is sustainable, and our current trajectory is not. It isn't a cut or 0% raises, so it is a policy that we could keep well into the future, and it isn't paying more than we can handle. Third, it will give people a strong motivation to support future allowable growth increases from the state.

I urge the board to adopt this modest proposal, and I believe it close enough to the proposal before the board tonight such that it fits the spirit of the both the board's proposal to stop all raises for central administration and the administration's proposed raises.

UPDATE: If you want to see how much just tying administration to no more than 2% raise. Take all the administrator's salaries (see page 156 of the board agenda for tonight) and see what the total would be with, say, a 2.66% raise versus a 2% raise. And realize that the difference will actually be more than that for my modified proposal, since six of the highest paid central administrators will not be receiving 2% raises this next year.

UPDATE 2: The modified proposal would save approximately $40,000 next year compared to the administration's proposal based on my rough calculations. Although that seems like a small amount, (a) it is enough to, for example, save 7th grade football, and (b) it will be compounded and grow exponentially as future percentage raises are applied to it.

UPDATE 3: My $40,000 is under playing the savings. The proposed raises tend to be 3% and 4% depending on the position.

UPDATE 4: Based on a more precise calculation, the amount saved is a little over $59,000. Here is the spreadsheet I used to make the calculation.


  1. What is the annual raise % for teachers for this year?

    1. I believe the percentage for teachers is 4.5% for the next two years. That is according to union negotiated settlements, and it is the total increase in compensation package for the entire budget category. Note that some central administrators got 4.1% raises to their salary alone (which was approved at the board meeting last night), even though the administration budget category only had a 2.66% increase.

      In other words, I'm not sure what the on-the-ground raises are for individual teachers. They are likely a bit lower than 4.5%.