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Sunshine Week: Concord School District salary search 2017

  • Rundlett Middle School, looking down a hallway of sixth-grade classrooms on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file



Monitor staff
Monday, March 12, 2018

Of the Concord School District’s 1,299 employees, 28 of them made more than $100,000 in the calendar year 2017, and half of them make around $24,000. Overall, the district spent $43.4 million on gross wages.

As part of Sunshine Week, the Monitor has compiled an online searchable database of district employees’ total wages for 2017. But flat numbers can’t show how long employees have been with the district, whether they retired that year or whether a new group of employees –  tutors – were recognized.

A new group of employees

Last year saw the introduction of a new group of ratified employees.

Tutors typically are assigned to work one-on-one with students, unlike educational assistants, who generally work in a classroom to support a teacher, said Larry Prince, the district’s human resources director. Tutors can specialize in anything from English Language Learners to reading and math.

They are also not confined to the schools, although a fair amount of their instruction takes place either during school or in an after-school program, Prince said. Occasionally, if a student is sick, a tutor may work with him or her from home.

But like educational assistants, this group dominates the bottom of the pay scale, with many of them making less than $20,000 a year for their work.

The gender gap

The school district has more gender balance at the top of its pay scale than City of Concord employees. The district has 28 employees who made more than $100,000 in 2017. In that group, 16 of them – 57 percent – are women.

By comparison, the city of Concord has just seven women – 14 percent – among the top 50 employees who made $100,000 or more in 2017.

And at the very top of the pay scale, the city had zero women in the top 20, while the school district had nine women, including its top employee, Superintendent Terri Forsten.

Top teachers

Nine teachers made more than $100,000 in 2017, which is one more than the district had in 2016. All of them have been with the district for 25 years or more.

One of those teachers is retired administrator Ann Rines, who returned to work as a part-time teacher, but landed at the top of the pay scale because of the payout she received for unused sick time when she retired. Rines retired as an administrator in June but returned part-time in September. She’s listed as a teacher with a hire date of August 2017, and her gross wages last year totaled $127,782.93. Of that amount, $13,961.25 came from her teaching role, according to the data.

Longevity

About 29 percent of the district’s teachers have been with the district for at least 20 years, according to the data. Of that amount, 20 have been with the district for more than 30 years; six have been with the district for 30 years; 77 have been with the district between 20 and 30 years; and 12 have been with the district for 20 years.

The longest-running teacher, according to the data, is Linda Becker, a fifth-grade teacher at Christa McAuliffe School who has been with the district since 1980.

A larger number of teachers have been hired within the last 10 years. About 144, or 35 percent, of teachers have been hired since 2008, according to the data. 2016 was the biggest hiring year, with 24 new employees coming aboard.

Educators hired in August 2017 made anywhere from $14,393 to $35,496.

Longevity might not always tell the whole story on the administrative level: Of the top three earners in the district – Forsten, Rundlett principal Jim McCollum and Concord High School Principal Tom Sica – Forsten, who was hired in 2015, makes the most at $143,914 for 2017. But McCollum, who was hired in 2017, isn’t far behind at $143,176, making $736 less than Forsten.

Sica, in contrast, was hired in 2002 and makes $132,794.

How the contract factors in

Prince said the district has already settled two of the five contracts that expire in June, including the maintenance staff and the transportation group. He said it’s anticipated that the administrative assistants will ratify their contract Tuesday night.

That leaves the food service group, which has had only two meetings since February, and the educational assistants and teachers. Both of the latter groups have been in negotiations since late last year, Prince said.

Teachers are expected to come to an agreement after the school board adopts a budget. That can pose a challenge when crafting a budget, but the negotiating process for teachers and educational assistants is different from that of any other group, according to Prince.

“They’re the biggest groups,” Prince said. “Any kind of an increase with them is a big deal. Our maintenance department, that’s like 10 people. If there’s even a half-of-a-percent increase in teachers’ or educational assistants’ salaries, that’s a big deal and is going to have a big effect.”

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)