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Two percent pay increase 'new normal' for Schenectady schools

Two percent pay increase 'new normal' for Schenectady schools

A two percent annual salary increase is the new normal for Schenectady City School District employee
Two percent pay increase 'new normal' for Schenectady schools
The new normal for Schenectady City School District employees is approximately a 2 percent annual salary increase; Superintendent Larry Spring, seen here speaking during a Board of Education meeting at Schenectady High School on November 19, 2014, sees...
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

The superintendent got a 2 percent pay raise. The principals got a 2 percent pay raise. The district directors are set to get a 2 percent pay raise. And the teachers are getting on average more than a 2 percent pay raise.

That’s the new normal for Schenectady City School District employees as Superintendent Larry Spring sees annual salary increases of around 2 percent as financially sustainable in the long run.

The heady days when school employees saw annual salary increases of 4 percent or more are a thing of the past, Spring said, as Schenectady and other districts in the state look to bring ever-growing personnel cost under control.

“I understand that people need to get raises – that’s a pretty reasonable expectation for employees to think about,” Spring said. “We tend to think a 2 percent raise is much more sustainable than 4 or 6 percent.”

Wednesday night, the Schenectady school board will be asked to approve 2 percent raises for the district’s middle managers association – which includes the supervisors of payroll, purchasing, custodial services, building and grounds and transportation – and the district directors and their support staff, who are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Those raises follow approval of 2 percent raises for school building administrators, a 2 percent raise for Spring – bringing his salary to $196,137 – and a new teachers contract, which included 1 percent annual raises on top of automatic annual raises built into a step schedule that teachers advance up each year.

With the annual step increases, which differ from year to year, Schenectady teachers can expect to see yearly raises of roughly 4 percent, under the new teachers contract that extends through August 2019.

Spring said if collective bargaining units want larger raises each year “they need to buy it” with other concessions in negotiations – such as agreeing to provisions that would save the district money on health insurance costs. The teachers, for example, made concessions on health care and other provisions, Spring said.

The updated contracts – which are negotiated individually with a handful of bargaining units that represent different employees in the district – have largely been Spring’s first chance to negotiate them as superintendent. He said there are a handful of other contracts, including those that cover custodian and other support staff, that are still under negotiation or will be soon.

Reach Gazette reporter Zachary Matson at 395-3120, [email protected] or @zacharydmatson on Twitter.

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