Ratified contract includes pay raises

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BENNINGTON — Administrators in the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union are set receive retroactive pay increases to July 1, now that the last required school district has ratified the five-year contract.

The Bennington School Board unanimously ratified the contract at its meeting Wednesday night; the contract applies to principals and assistant principals, along with the dean of students at Mount Anthony Union High School.

The Pownal, Shaftsbury, Mount Anthony Union and SVSU school boards ratified the contract earlier this summer.

The previous five-year administrator contract expired June 30, 2018, although administrators have been operating under that contract.

The five-year contract should hopefully prevent turnover in principals, said Jim Culkeen, superintendent of the SVSU.

Nick Gault, the SVSU's human resources director, said there weren't too many "significant changes" from the previous contract.

Administrators requested a change in pay during negotiations, as their salaries had been tied to the top of the teachers' pay scale, Gault said.

This meant that they received about 1 to 1.5 percent pay increase each year.

They wanted a new payscale that had a "more reasonable baseline increase" each year, Gault said.

Under the new contract, the base salary for administrators is $71,010.

Last year, that base salary was $68,470.

Increases will be 3.7 percent, effective retroactively to July 1, with a 2.5 percent at the beginning of subsequent years.

This is similar to a previous proposal between administrators and the SVSU.

At a June 4 meeting involving multiple back-and-forth proposals, the Southwest Vermont Administrators Association was "tentatively agreeable" to a first-year base salary of $71,010, with a 2.5 percent increase each year thereafter, according to a copy of meeting minutes.

Culkeen has described negotiations as "amicable."

No administrator will actually receive a salary of $71,010 going forward, as the base salary is part of a formula that determines compensation, taking into account factors like the educational attainment and years of experience of the administrator, Gault said.

Under this contract, the formula remains essentially the same — it just gives weight for a double master's degree, which had not been done previously, Gault said.

This contract also has a clause allowing for it to be opened prior to the end of the five years, should there be a major change to the health insurance plans offered or if there's some form of district consolidation, Gault told the Bennington School Board at its meeting Wednesday.

Besides pay increases, under the contract administrators can no longer provide written consent for anyone to view their personnel file, he said at the meeting.

As for teachers, the boards of the SVSU ratified a two-year teacher contract in August 2017, in which salaries would increase by 3 percent overall in both FY2018 and FY2019, the Banner previously reported.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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