School leaders get 1.5-percent raises

GUILDERLAND — Six school administrators will get 1.5-percent raises for each of the next three years, according to a contract the school board ratified unanimously on Tuesday night.

The Guilderland Administrators’ Association had ratified the pact on Friday, said Superintendent Marie Wiles.

“How nice it is we’ve come to that agreement,” said board member Judy Slack.

The unit includes the two house principals at Farnsworth Middle School, three assistant principals at Guilderland High School, and one secondary special-education administrator.

The three-year contract runs from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016.

Negotiations went smoothly without any sticking points, according to Lin Severance, Guilderland’s assistant superintendent for human resources, who negotiated for the district along with Neil Sanders, the assistant superintendent for business.

“We met twice,” Severance told The Enterprise yesterday, as she reviewed the terms of the contract. “Some of our groups really do their homework. They understand the fiscal times and know what the board is likely to approve.”

Currently, the lowest paid unit member, with three years of experience, earns $78,900 annually, she said. At the end of the contract, he will earn $81,200. This does not include a bonus for tenure, said Severance.

The highest paid member in the unit, with 27 years of experience, now earns $111,000, and will earn about $114,300 in the third year of the contract.

The administrators work 12 months of the year.

Asked about other issues, Severance said, “This is a unit that has given concessions in the past.”

In the last year of the now-expired contract, the unit had agreed to pay 22 percent of health-insurance costs. Most Guilderland employees pay 20 percent, with the district paying the other 80 percent.

“So we did not go after health insurance,” said Severance. “They sunsetted at 22 percent so we didn’t touch that at all.”

The new contract keeps the administrators’ health-insurance contribution at 22 percent.

Asked how the Guilderland administrators’ salaries compared with those in other districts, Severance said, although it can be difficult to make comparisons as duties and titles differ among districts, “For incoming administrators with no experience, we’re absolutely at the low end.”

She noted that the starting salary “determines what they’re going to be making in five or ten years if they stay with the district and get modest increases.”

Severance said that, so far, Guilderland hasn’t had trouble attracting qualified applicants.

Indeed, Demian Singleton, the assistant superintendent for instruction, said earlier that over 100 had applied for the assistant-principal post that opened at Guilderland High School this summer.

Severance surmised that the large pool of applicants could be “a sign of the times” when, with many districts making cuts, candidates may “look at a lateral move even if it means a cut in pay.”

More Guilderland News

ALTAMONT —The Southern Poverty Law Center, an internationally known organization that tracks the activities of hate groups in the United States, has put Altamont on the map — the Hate Map.

Published last month in the center’s Spring 2015 “Intelligence Report,” and posted online at its website, www.splcenter.org, the Hate Map for 2014 lists Altamont as the only location in New York State to have an active chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

One abandoned building, a long-empty bank, at the corner of routes 20 and 146, will not need to be added to the town's new registry, as it is set to be removed.

The village board could have rejected outright the request to enlarge its commercial district so Stewart's could grow but has decided instead to draft a law that would change the zoning, allowing for public discussion.