Friday, June 29, 2012

Administrators get 5 percent raises

2 percent approved by district, 3 percent guaranteed by contract

Express Staff Writer

Eleven Blaine County School District administrators and directors will receive permanent 4 percent pay increases, as shown on the above chart, for the 2012-13 school year. The administrators and directors will also receive a one-time 1 percent bonus payable in December. Express graphic by Kristen Kaiser

Eleven Blaine County School District administrators and directors will receive 5 percent pay raises for the 2012-13 school year, which begins July 1.

Four percent is a permanent addition to their salaries, while 1 percent is a one-time bonus payable in December.

A 2 percent raise, which includes the one-time Christmas bonus, was approved by the district board of trustees earlier this month. The other 3 percent is guaranteed by contract provisions that award an automatic 3 percent pay increase for district administrators and directors every other year.

There was no mention by school board members or district administrators of the 3 percent automatic salary increase when trustees discussed and approved the 2 percent pay raise for administrators and other nonteaching staff at the annual budget hearing on June 12.

The 2 percent raise for the coming school year is the same as approved by the school board for teachers and other certified staff in May following contract negotiations with the Blaine County Education Association. Applying any raise given to teachers to all district staff has been a historical practice of the district.

The only district employee not receiving a pay raise for the coming school year is Superintendent Lonnie Barber, who said at the June 12 budget hearing that he would voluntarily forgo a pay raise because of public criticism and current multi-million-dollar litigation between the district and green energy contractor McKinstry Essention.

According to information provided by the district, Barber's annual salary will not increase for the coming school year but will remain at $158,575.

The names of the 11 administrators and directors receiving 5 percent pay increases for the 2012-13 school year were provided by the district on Wednesday per a request made Tuesday by the Idaho Mountain Express. While all 11 are members of the administration, the district distinguishes between administrators and directors, regardless of the titles, by whether the position requires teaching certification. Administrators need to be certified and directors do not.

Administrators included on the list are Assistant Superintendent John Blackman, Student Services Director Debi Gutknecht, Director of Curriculum Patricia McLean, Wood River High School Vice Principals Lynn Fuger and Keith Nelson and Wood River Middle School Vice Principal Robert Ditch.

Directors included on the list are Business Manager Mike Chatterton, Director of Buildings and Grounds Howard Royal, Transportation Director Rex Squires, Communications Director Heather Crocker and Security Director Scott Manning.

The largest pay increase will go to Blackman, whose annual salary, increased permanently by 4 percent, will go from $120,819 to $125,651.

The second largest increase goes to Chatterton, whose annual salary will increase from $110,346 to $114,759.

Royal, who was responsible for overseeing the McKinstry Essention contract, will receive an annual salary increase from $103,484 to $107,623.

Blackman, Chatterton, Royal and the other eight administrators and directors will also receive the 1 percent one-time Christmas bonus.

In an email to the Express, Crocker justified the contractual 3 percent pay increases by explaining that administrators and directors do not qualify for a Steps and Lanes pay increase program available to teachers. With the Steps and Lanes program, teachers receive salary increases as they increase years of experience or earn additional college credits or degrees.

"For the past 12 years, the Blaine County School District has ensured equitable compensation for administrators with a 3 percent salary increase every other year," Crocker wrote.

Contract and payroll information for district personnel is available to the public through the "finances" tab at the district website at Contracts for the 2012-13 school year are not yet posted but should be available on the website later in July.

Terry Smith:

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