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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 10, 2011

GCSD administrators get raises

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Even as citizens in district-sponsored forums discuss cutting administrative posts to close a $4 million budget gap for next year, some school administrators are getting raises.

At its last meeting, the school board ratified a three-year contract with the Guilderland School Administrators’ Association, which, according to Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Lin Severance, adds 3.5 percent to the 2009-10 base salaries in the current school year for the association’s 10 members.

The contract is retroactive, running from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2013. For each of the following two years, the administrators will get salary increases of 2.6 percent, she said.

“This is in line with the other administrative units,” said Severance.

Before the 3.5-percent was added, annual salaries for the 10 administrators ranged from $75,000 to $107,463.

The unaffiliated association is made up of 10 members: three house principals at Farnsworth Middle School; three assistant principals at Guilderland High School; three special-education administrators, one at the elementary level, overseeing five schools, and one each at the high school and the middle school; and the assistant director for athletics and health.

Unlike other units, such as the teachers’ association or the employees’ association, the administrators do not have a stepped system, which guarantees automatic increases in pay each year.

Asked why the contract wasn’t settled before the former one expired last summer, Severance said, “There was a recognition that the economic times were going to be difficult to negotiate through.” The unit was waiting to see if the economy would improve, she said, adding, “Unfortunately, it didn’t.”

During last year’s budget process, as the district faced cuts in state aid, the superintendent at the time asked for concessions from each of Guilderland’s 12 bargaining units. “The unit stepped up last year and agreed to pay 25 percent of their health-insurance costs,” said Severance of the Guilderland School Administrators’ Association. Other employees pay 20 percent, and the district pays the remaining 80 percent. That concession lasts for this school year, 2010-11.

For the second and third years of the contract, the association members agreed to pay 21 percent of their health-insurance costs while the district pays 79 percent.

“And they’ve agreed to begin the new contract with a 22/78 split,’ said Severance, referring to the contract which will take effect after June 30, 2013.

She also said that “obsolete language” was updated, and gave as an example the definition of “longevity.” Severance explained, “The language was unclear as to when teachers would become eligible for retirement. There are different ages and tiers within the Teachers’ Retirement System. It could be at age 55, 57, or 62. It depends on when you started your career and what tier you’re on.” The new contract clarifies this, she said.

In a separate interview the night of the Feb. 7 community budget forum (see related story), Severance spoke to The Enterprise about the important but often misunderstood work performed by administrators.

“Parents love that we know their kids,” she said. “The only way you can do that is if you have people to do the required paperwork and allow time for the adult-student connection. You don’t often see the kind of connections you have in Guilderland. Our administrators know our kids. They see them in the hallways and they know them by name….”

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