April 20, 2014

Region 4 School Boards Approve New Three-Year Contract for Administrators

REGION 4 — District school boards Thursday approved a new three-year contract for school administrators that provides a total 9.48 percent salary increase at the expiration of the agreement in June 2017.

The contract with the Region 4 Administrators Association was approved with little discussion by the 24 board members present at the meeting from the district towns of Chester, Essex, and Deep River. Arthur Hennick, a newly elected member of the local Chester Board of Education, cast the single dissenting vote. The contract covers ten administrators, including principals and assistant principals at the five district schools and some central office staff.

The agreement, which is effective in July, provides a 3.82 percent salary increase for 2014-2015, 3.16 percent for 2015-2016, and a 2.5 percent pay increase for the final year, 2016-2017. The totals include any step increases for several of the most recently hired administrators who are now at lower steps on the three step salary schedule for administrators.

Kevin Roy, a lawyer who represented the school district in the negotiations, said the talks with administrators, who did not use an attorney, were a “cooperative process” that quickly produced the three-year agreement. Roy said the cumulative 9.48 percent salary increase was “slightly above” the current statewide average pay increase of 7.28 percent for a three-year contract.

But Roy noted district administrators were at or below statewide pay averages for their contracts extending back to 2008. He noted that an agreement concluded in 2008, at the start of the financial crisis that led to the national Great Recession, provided no salary increase for 2008-2009, and only a two-year 2.5 percent pay increase for 2009-2011. Roy said the new contract would help the district attract and retain qualified administrators.

The actual salaries vary among administrators based on experience and years of service in the district. For the principal at Valley Regional High School, who assumed the position in 2010, the salary would rise from the current $139,000 per year to a salary of about $146,000 in 2017.,

The contract also provides for some savings on health insurance costs for the administrators, with the employee share of total premium costs rising from the current 18.5 percent share to a 21 percent share paid by the employees in 2017. The employee share of a separate higher deductible plan would rise from the current 14.5 percent to a 17 percent employee share in 2017.