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.”

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