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Nashua school district works toward pay scale

NASHUA - The Nashua School District is getting closer to establishing a new pay system for school administrators that would establish starting salaries and tie annual evaluations to raises for city principals and assistant principals.

On Wednesday night, a human resources subcommittee discussed recommending a pay scale plan, which was devised by the district's administration, to the Board of Education.

"(A pay scale) will save both time and provide consistency. Each time we hire someone new, we often get into long conversations at board level about salary. This would provide consistency," Superintendent Mark Conrad said.

A pay scale has been a hot topic at Board of Education meetings recently, as the board has had strong disagreements over starting salaries for new administration employees.

"We have not had a salary scale for non-affiliated employees like principals for some time, and it becomes difficult to equitably determine new salaries for new and existing principals. So this an attempt to bring some structure to the process and also to be comfortable that salaries being paid are competitive in the southern New Hampshire market," board member Steven Haas said.

In a recent example of board dissension on salary, members had strong disagreements for the starting salary of a new assistant superintendent despite voting in April to unanimously approve Conrad's recommendation. Once it was decided to hire Main Dunstable Assistant Principal Karen Crebase as the district's new assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum, unsuccessful attempts were made by some board members to reduce Crebase's recommended salary of $105,000 by $10,000.

"We feel that it is time, we have talked about it for a while, but we should put something down on paper to assist both the board and the superintendent when it comes to approving a salary increase or hiring of a new principal," Haas said.

Conrad said that once the board asked the district's administration to put together a pay scale for principals and assistant principals, the district worked with current principals and staff to create the pay scale.

Under the way the plan is currently structured, Conrad said that a new elementary school principal would receive $88,000, a new middle school principal $93,000, and a new high school principal $103,000. An elementary school assistant principal would start at $73,000 and secondary assistant principals would receive $81,000.

"All of these salaries are in line with surrounding districts. This would just provide guidance and future stability," Conrad said.

Conrad said the new salary scale would also create benchmarks that would determine how raises are addressed, with a system put into place whereby step raises would not exceed 1.5 percent a year. Unsatisfactory evaluations would leave an administrator at their current step, while Conrad said that exceptional administrators could receive stipends on top of their step raises for taking on a leadership role or student achievement. However, Conrad said that the stipend aspect of the plan would not be implemented for a few years while the kinks of the new system are ironed out.

With 150 nonaffiliated employees who, like Conrad, are not part of a collective bargaining unit, Conrad said pay scales for non-principal employees should be developed once the principal scale is finished.

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