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October 29. 2013 10:56PM

Nashua Board of Education balks at principal salaries

NASHUA — Salaries for school principals and assistant principals have been a warm topic over the past year, and the Board of Education wants more facts and figures before it approves a list of entry level pay rates for school administrators.

Members of the board voted, 5-2, against a recommendation from the Human Resources Committee to accept a schedule of starting salaries for school administrators based on pay rates for principals in other school districts.

“We felt the salaries were too high and the ranges were incorrect,” said BOE member William Mosher. “The schedule is out of line in an economy like the one we are trying to recover in.”

But Human Resources Committee Chairman Robert Haas, who voted to approve the salary schedule along with BOE Chairman Robert Hallowell, said the proposed entry-level salaries were comparable to what administrators earn in nearby districts.

“This discussion has been going on for a couple of years,” said Haas. “I think some people don’t understand the market value for a principal and an assistant principal, and they think it’s just too high.”Haas said his committee will now continue to gather more information about salaries and will try to develop an equitable pay schedule.Superintendent Mark Conrad outlined the proposed range of starting salaries for administrators based on their education and experience.

According to the proposed figures, a new high school principal who is uncertified, has less than one year of experience as a principal and less than three years of experience as an assistant principal, would start at $99,933 a year. Candidates with more than three years of experience and an advanced degree would earn $107,705.

The proposed schedule covers only entry-level salaries. Annual raises would be approved by the Board of Education.

“Currently, because we don’t have an extensive review process, we haven’t been able to identify principals who do an outstanding job and those who do an average job,” said Haas. “Without that, the board has approved 1 or 2 percent raises each year.”

Haas said the Human Resources Committee is now developing an evaluation for administrators.

“The schedule was started to give principals an idea where they would go,” he added.

Board members also felt the salary ranges were a problem. A teacher who is not certified as an administrator and has limited experience can join the administrative ranks as an elementary school assistant principal and earn $70,826. But a candidate with three years of experience as principal or assistant principal, and an advanced degree, would earn $76, 335 in the same job.

In the past, BOE members have been troubled when teachers earning salaries around $50,000 move into administrative positions and pick up salary increases of $25,000.

But as Haas pointed out, not only is the job completely different, administrators work 245 days while teachers have 180 work days.

Still, other board members wanted more information about the jobs and the candidates before approving big pay checks for principals.

“It’s a tough job but if you have the moxie, show us at the end of you first year what you have accomplished,’ said Mosher.

“That’s the way it should be. You can’t just stick them in there and blast them with dollars.”


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