Friday, June 20, 2008

Unions question salary increases

Some employees and union leaders are concerned about increases to Shoreline administrators pay and benefits for next year.

Most of the concern is in three areas. First, district principals will return to receiving extra money next year that puts them in the top 25 percent of pay for local districts.

Second, superintendent Sue Walker and deputy superintendent Marcia Harris will receive 5.6 percent pay increases, about 1.2 percent above what is mandated by the state. The state mandated a 4.4 cost of living increase for administrators.

Third, as part of a revised three-year contract approved by the board June 16, Walker will receive a roughly $15,000 annuity per year to be used for investments for retirement, a new addition to her contract.

"We have sustained so many cuts in the past several years, it's frustrating to see the highest paid employees in the district continuing to increase their compensation," said Elizabeth Beck, co-president of the Shoreline Education Association (SEA), the teacher's union. Teachers are still waiting to see some of what was cut restored to classroom, she said.

"Why is the district not asking administrators to give up something?" Rose Anne McLaughlin, a district employee, asked the school board at its June 16 meeting.

In response, district officials defended the raises and reinstatements, citing loyalty to bargained agreements, raises that were forfeited this year and the district's fiscal progress under Walker.


This past summer, teachers almost went on strike over the district's refusal to fully fund cost of living increases, or COLAs, on all parts of their contract. Officials said the district, struggling financially, couldn't afford that.

In the end, teachers and other certificated staff took cuts to activity pay and "impact and inclusion" money to get a full COLA on their basic contract and a smaller COLA on supplemental contracts. Impact and inclusion money helps teachers with a special needs student in a mainstream class.

Principals' salary

Principals' annual salaries are based on a formula that compares 12 local school districts. Their contract says principals must be in the top 25 percent in pay for those districts.

In August 2007, principals suspended that "top 25 percent" stipulation for one year to help the district with its financial troubles.

This coming year, principals will once again receive extra pay to be in the top 25 percent for local districts.

If the district commits to paying one group of employees in the top 25 percent, it should do that for all employees, Beck said.

In response to the union's concerns, Harris said that the stipulation is in the principals' contract and is not being bargained this year, so the district must honor those agreements.

District office administrators' salaries are based on an index of Shoreline principals' salaries. They don't directly receive extra money to be in the top 25 percent, but their salaries go up the following year if principal's salaries do. The administrators' group doesn't include Walker and Harris.

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.


Anonymous said...

The rich get richer. The rest of us (with that misguided sense of obligation to shoulder OUR part of the burden and tighten OUR belts, even though we aren't the ones who screwed it up in the first place) get the short end of the stick.

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder 4% raise at $100,000 = $4,000
A 4% raise at $40,000 = $1,600

Anonymous said...

Dumb down staff and constituents and there won't be a critical mind left to question the math.

Shoreline had the sense to scratch their heads and ponder raises for administrators. Edmonds managed to pull it off during the summer, between two budget crises.

Crafty devils.

Anonymous said...

Once again, other unions are awake while ours seem to be asleep at the switch.

Anonymous said...

They should be the same union. But they are asleep at the switch. How come Edmonds has so many problems? Look at the reps throughout the district, and I need not say more.