Bureaucracies

Salary schedules.

School boards.

Sometimes, it’s all a little hard to follow.

Consider the discussion of the salary range for the already hired high school athletic director as a case in point.

The school board at its last meeting spent a solid half hour in a circular effort to figure out whether to add $8,000 to the salary range for an athletic director. The current schedule says the position pays between $52,000 and $68,000. However, Superintendent Linda Gibson said that was a mistake. Should have ranged from $60,000 to $76,000.

Of course, newly hired Athletic Director Ryan Scherlin already holds the job based on the old salary range. Changing the range could mean that in the fullness of time, he might make an extra $8,000 a year. But that’s based on hitting his marks on the performance review every year to get the automatic seniority boost — and pretty much everyone aces the district’s performance review system.

But some board members struggled to wrap their heads around the recommendation. After all, the district just overhauled the pay scales based on a salary study involving a bunch of similar districts. So why wasn’t that good enough when it comes to the athletic director?

The key moment apparently came when the district changed the title from “coordinator” to “director” — even though that didn’t really change the duties. The person in the position evaluates the coaches, which is kind of an administrative thing, said Gibson.

“It was our error. Asking someone to move from the high school athletic coordinator to the administrative salary schedule is not fair to the position,” she explained. “When we brought you the range, the range was calculated incorrectly. This should have been the calculation, so it was consistent on the administrative salary schedule.”

Board President Joanne Conlin said she was perfectly happy with the salary study, which found out what other schools pay the athletic directors, or coordinator, or whatever. “The study was done. The salary didn’t say, this is the job description — so I really like the way you went out and looked at a variety of schools.”

“You’re right,” said Gibson. “When we brought you the $52,000 to $68,000 — when you look at all the positions on the salary schedule — we didn’t go out to new schools.”

Conlin persisted, “This type of position seems like it is a little different at every school — so it just doesn’t fit. So it’s got to be what fits for our school. I mean, it’s all over the place. I just don’t feel that you guys made an error.”

Board member Audrey Hogue kind of agreed. “I can’t remember — it was after we went to an administrator (instead of a coordinator)?”

“Now I’ve got myself confused,” said the normally very hard to confuse board member Jolynn Schinstock. “All these other positions — did that middle salary amount come from the study?”

Finance Director Kathy Manning attempted to clarify. “It was converted for the number of days — the middle amount divided by the number of days and multiplied by the number of days we wanted the position to work — for every position except the athletic director. You felt it was way out of range and you wanted to start at a way lower range. The only position that the board made an exception to was the athletic director.”

Conlin — a bulldog on details — persisted. “We paid for a study. The study gave us information to guide us. We know there needed to be some adjustment. That’s a point in time. If we did the study today — it would be different.”

The conversation chased its tail a little while longer before Gibson made another attempt to clarify.

“Several of you have asked the athletic director to be on a yearly contract, not just 180 days plus 20 days (of personal leave). You’re asking them to work more days. You have to be careful that you’re compensating them. It’s still 20 additional days at a daily rate that we’re asking them to work.”

Manning chimed in. “On a teacher salary schedule — that’s certified rather than administrative — they can get 25 scale points (for experience and a master’s degree). An administrative position has only five years (for experience).”

This confused Underwood. “Are you saying — just want to clarify — with the certified they would get 20 years? I thought that was the maximum. Plus education (five years’ experience credit for a master’s)?”

Gibson added, “20 years’ experience and a master’s degree and 20 extra days plus $4,000 performance pay.”

By now, the hour was late, and the board befuddled.

So they sighed and unanimously added $8,000 to both the minimum and maximum salary schedule range for the athletic director.

Contact the writer at paleshire@payson.com

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(1) comment

Phil Mason

Since the Board seems to rubber stamp the recommendations of the Superintendent, this whole process is a joke. Has the administration EVER lobbied to reduce the salary of anyone due to a mistake in calculating their worth? I can find no record of that.

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