Saturday, November 24, 2012

On Tap for Monday: Administrator "Raise Pool"

On Monday, November 26, 2012 (6:30 PM, Municipal Bldg) the Sun Prairie School Board is poised to take action to approve a 2% across the board raise for administrators.


The 2012-2013 budget adopted by the School Board includes $51,157 designated for administrative salary increases.   This amount is equivalent to the 2% salary pool necessary to fund the motion of the committee.

“To increase administration salary pool by 2 percent to be distributed by the District Administrator according to the performance evaluation system.”

On the School Board side of negotiations:
School Board’s Administrative Compensation and Benefits Committee, Caren Diedrich, Tom Weber, and John Whalen

On the Administrator side:  Craig Coulthart, Nancy Hery, Liz Merrick and Wendi Tavs.

We have two comments based on the information provided:
(1) The recommendation indicates that the "administration salary pool" is to be "increased by 2%".  How much was in there already?  Is there MORE than the $51,157?

(2) Bear in mind that 2/3 of the school board side of negotiations were noted Tim Culver lap dogs John Whalen and Caren Diedrich.  Look...we get it...When in the (*heartburn moment*) Board Treasurer, and Diedrich is the Chair of the former Human Resources Committee.  

The 4% vs. the 96%
OK...we lied...we have one more comment to make.

The total dollar increase for [the Local 60] settlement (11-12-12) was $176,744.00 
shared by 333.64 employees
or $529.74 each

vs. the administrator team, which would get $51,157
shared by 28.5 FTE
or $1,794.98 each

Really?  Did we not hear over the last 4 months about the wealthy getting wealthier at the expense of the middle and lower classes?

The Local 60 group includes 11.7 times the number of employees as the administrators' group...
yet they will collectively receive only 3.45 times as much salary dollars.

Super-Size Admin Salaries; Just Plain Super-Size the Rest of The Work Force
That's about $10 more each week (pre-tax) that Local 60 workers will get.  Maybe enough to splurge for a family night out at McDonald's ...if one sticks to the Dollar Menu.  Meanwhile, each Administrator ,on average-pretax, would see an increase of about $35.00...enough for a decent sit down dinner somewhere.  

Why does it have to be about food?  Hey...we didn't start the "translating tax levy increase to pizzas" .  We like to assess blame for poor food choices and the obesity epidemic.  And some rightly so.  But you know what?  We are helping to create this situation...and we need to own that.  The folks earning $90,000 per year (and that's just ONE bread-earner's income) have no trouble making their rent/mortgage payments and they can afford to make good food choices.  They can also afford a membership to the local athletic club and even a personal trainer.

Meanwhile, those folks that earn only $12 or $13/hour have seriously difficult choices to make: pay the rent to keep a home, or eat well.  But nobody wants to talk about that.  Many of those folks eat poorly because it beats not eating.  An athletic club membership?  Personal trainer.  Please!!!!  Not even on the radar screen for most.  But nobody wants to talk about that either.

What we fail to consider, in our haste to keep our administrator and teacher salaries on par with the Jones', is that we have 333 Local 60 employees and we rarely hear any talk of a need to "be competitive" for those jobs.  In fact, it may be that the best selling point for a Local 60 opening is, " beats the pay you'd earn at McDonald's".

At some point we have to look at this equation...and that's not limited to Sun Prairie.  That extends to the entire state and the nation.  Do the administrators do a good job?  Sure...some of them are absolutely awesome (and most know who those are).  Others.....meh....not so much.

At what point do we say....hey....on average, each administrator earns $89,750 (do the math....if 2% of the total administrator salary is $51,157 and there are 28.5 FTE).  Is that a good wage?  Sure...the cost of living increases each year....but aren't these people well ahead of the curve to begin with?  But these are the people that earn enough to have, in addition to a fine primary home, a nice cabin up north and a boat and other luxuries, while many in Local 60 have trouble making ends meet.

We've finally been hit on the head with enough coconuts to understand that many teachers "off the salary grid" are earning a pretty damn spanky living, while those fresh out of school are underpaid.  The proposal made to the teachers raises the floor and earmarks the majority of the "2% allocation" to those teachers with less than 6 years experience.  The contract proposal offers a small stipend --non-base building) for those teachers in the middle and upper end.  If we're starting to move towards creating some sort of ceiling for teachers, at what point do we do the same for administrators?

And how do we really tie raises to performance?  The administrative pool is dished out as Tim Culver sees fit, based on his "evaluations" of the administrators.  Look at the past data.  It's clear there are favorites and its clear that some are in the doghouse (sometimes rightfully so).

Aaaaaahhhhhhh...we could go on and on...but you either get it...or you don't.  This country DOES need a fiscal wake up....just not the menu being offered by the Mitten Man.   So go on and award 2% raises to people that do not need it...and to some who do not deserve it.   And while we're at it, let's be sure to make those raises "base-building" so that they can in turn be raised by future increases.