Austin principals’ contracts approved

Published 8:02 am Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Austin Public School Board approved principal’s working contracts Monday, giving district principals a 5.9 percent total package settlement increase and a 3 percent increase in district principal’s pay for the next two years.

Principals will see a 2.5 percent salary increase for the 2010-2011 school year and a .5 percent increase for the 2011-2012 school year, as well as an increased cell phone stipend to $40 a month.

The principal’s salary increase comes despite last year’s soft salary freeze for district teachers. Although the step system for teachers reorganized this school year, giving some teachers a slight pay increase, teachers won’t be up for a salary increase until next year, when contract negotiations will begin anew.

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Yet principals haven’t seen a salary increase in two years either. The principal’s assocation voluntarily froze their salaries during the last school year in order to prevent budget cuts and help the district’s financial situation.

According to Mary Burroughs, the district’s human resources director, principals and teachers received about the same percentage increase in wages based on total package benefits, which include everything from cost of living increases to covering rising health care benefits.

In fact, Burroughs said based on overall increases over the past two contract periods, teachers ended up getting a larger incease in total package benefits, with a 17.5 percent increase in total package benefits over the past four years, compared to 10.3 percent for principals. Teachers who had hit the top step in their payment system were paid a $750 lump sum to help offset their package increases as well.

“One thing I try to do is be as equitable as possible,” said Burroughs, whose job it is to negotiate contracts with district employee associations.

It’s Burroughs’ job during negotiations to make sure total package increases amongst district employees all go up at a relatively similar rate according to Mark Stotts, the district’s finance and operations director.

“We look at the total package groups that bargaining units received and we try and stay within it,” Stotts said.