School board pleased with new points-based administration salary system

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— It took well more than a year to structure, but at Monday’s Steamboat Springs School Board meeting, Superintendent Brad Meeks presented the district’s new administrative salary system and schedule — a scoring-based method of assigning value to positions and their pay scales.

Salary Schedule's 5 Factors

Formal preparation and experience

Points are based on a position's need in terms of years of previous experience, as well as what degree is required. It can range from no experience to 12-plus years, or no degree necessary to a doctoral degree required.

Decision making

Points are based on decision-making impact in specific administrative roles. It can range from very little supervision needed to closely supervised decisions that involve multiple departments.

Thinking challenges and problem solving

Points are based on the complexity of the challenges and problems that may arise. Points range from choice decisions, which are clear cut, to those that need a creative solution to a novel situation.

Interactions and communications

Points are based on the number of others an administrative position works with on a day-to-day basis. Also, points are based on the outcomes and effects of working with multiple people.

Work environment

Points are based on situations of low or high hazards, such as working in rigorous outside elements or with heavy machinery.

The methodology of scoring administrative positions in the district — such as the superintendent, campus principals and other key district office jobs — is based on a five-factor scoring formula. Meeks said it’s a new system he hopes better defines administrative positions district wide and creates transparency with the community, future administrators and the teaching staff.

“We’ve had a hiring schedule in the past, where people come in, and we place them based on past practice, if you will,” Meeks said Monday. “But we haven’t really gone through the process of creating a system and scoring out each position, then assigning value to that position.”

The five factors that determine points for administrative positions are formal preparation and experience, decision making, thinking challenges and problem solving, interactions and communications, and work environment.

The points calculated from the five factors place administrators on different levels. From there, their respective levels are charted on a salary schedule, which spells out different pay scales based on the number of days worked and the level the administrator scores into.

During the process of establishing a new salary structure, Steamboat employed a third-party consultant to conduct the salary survey by examining nine different districts’ administration salaries across the state. The nine districts surveyed were resort communities with high costs of living or were accredited with distinction from the state, like Steamboat, district finance director Dale Mellor said.

Mellor and Meeks built an administration salary schedule using the survey numbers and 2013-14 administrators’ salary levels. They took the average median income from the nine surveyed districts’ administrative positions and created an eight-step schedule for different jobs, based on the number of days worked each year.

The eight-step salary schedule begins at the minimum pay for administrative positions, based on experience points accumulated, and increases 2.5 percent between each step. Gaining a 2.5 percent raise in pay will be decided solely by the school board, Mellor said. It’s the same type of system used in the district’s teacher salary schedule.

For an administrator who earns more than the new salary schedule would place them, Mellor said they would be grandfathered in.

For the purpose of Monday’s school board meeting, the presentation served as a proposal, and all current salary numbers were used to give an illustrated example of what the schedule will look like.

The board will vote at a later date on exact salary figures to fill out the 2014-15 schedule and beyond, Meeks said.

“This is all if this system were in place for the current year,” Mellor said Monday. “It has no increases in salary in it, or no increases in steps. This is just where everyone would be if they were on the proposed system.”

It won’t be the first time the district has implemented an administration salary schedule, Mellor said. Before Meeks was hired as superintendent three years ago, the district had a similar 10-step schedule, also constructed based on a salary survey.

When administrators had family insurance added to their salary, as well as the “me too” clause in their contracts, the employees’ placement on the 10-step schedule dramatically was thrown off.

The new system seemed to satisfy the school board as well as a few teachers in attendance for Monday’s meeting

School board President Rebecca Williams said she feels “comfortable” with the new schedule, which she and the rest of the board have pored over for months.

“It’s great to see this for our administrators, because it really helps them,” Soda Creek Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Cindy Gantick said Monday. “Kudos to Brad for really tackling it. He inherited some things, and he’s really been innovative in tackling it.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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