Janesville School District considering incentive pay for administrators

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Frank Schultz
Saturday, January 5, 2013

— Principals and other administrators in the Janesville School District could earn raises of up to 6 percent next school year under a new incentive-pay system that the administration is proposing.

The school board could vote on the changes at its meeting Tuesday.

Past practice awarded pay increases based on experience. The new system would rate administrators on their skills, abilities and performance.

Six percent might seem high, but few if any would earn the maximum increase because they are unlikely to excel in every performance standard, officials said at a school board committee meeting Friday.

If every administrator received the 6 percent, the cost would be about $200,000 a year, said district Chief Financial Officer Keith Pennington.

The plan covers 35 administrative positions, including directors, principals, assistant principals, coordinators and supervisors. This group’s average salary is $97,938.

The increase is divided into two parts: a maximum increase of 1.5 percent to the base pay and a maximum 4.5 percent for what is called incentivized pay.

Incentive pay would affect only the pay for that particular year. It is not added to the base pay.

Superintendent Karen Schulte and Pennington said the incentive pay should not be called a bonus. Bonuses, they said, are bestowed on groups of employees, while incentive pay is based on a particular worker’s performance.

Administrators’ pay was frozen in 2009, 2011 and 2012, said Steve Sperry, director of human resources. They received a 2.25 percent raise in 2010.

Sperry wrote in a memo that administrators work as hard as business owners, with long work weeks.

The administrators’ salaries and benefits are intended to recruit, recognize and retain the district’s “leadership team,” Sperry wrote.

Administrators are the leaders in producing higher test scores and higher satisfaction levels among staff and parents, as measured on annual surveys, the memo notes. Those are three of the performance measures in the proposed system.

The memo cites a 2002 study and a 2010 survey of similarly sized Wisconsin school districts, which found that Janesville School District administrative pay is average.

The new system would divide administrators into three ranges for base pay, labeled, from low to high, as developing, effective and distinguished.

Administrators would be evaluated based on their skills, abilities and results, Schulte said.

The maximum pay for a “developing,” high school principal would be $110,000. An “effective” high school principal could earn up to $114,503, and a distinguished high school principal could earn up to $119,000.

The maximums for elementary principals would be $90,000, $95,003 and $100,000. The five central-office directors would have maximums of $124,000, $126,503 and $129,000.

No one would lose pay as a result of the new system, officials said.

The administrators have not yet been assigned a pay level, so the school board will not know on Tuesday what each person would be paid.

The 1.5 percent base-pay increases would not be automatic. They would be based on student test scores; satisfaction surveys of staff, parents and students; management of finances and improvement plans; outreach to staff and community and “professionalism,” according to the memo.

Administrators already receive annual scores based on student tests, surveys and other measures. The score is compiled in a “Leadership Evaluation Management” document, or LEM. LEM scores would be just a part of the performance-based system.

Some of other factors to be considered are not specifically measured. They include whether the administrator “follows directions well”; is “resilient,” “calming,” and “steady”; and is a “team player,” “problem solver,” “logical” and a “creative thinker.”

Schulte’s pay is a separate issue, which the board is scheduled to discuss in closed session Tuesday. Schulte has been awarded performance-based incentive pay for several years.

The new base-salary increases would go into effect when the new fiscal year starts July 1.

Last updated: 8:06 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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