Principals and other district managers want the same raises that teachers get

This story was originally printed April 20 in the Daily Post.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Palo Alto school board is considering a new agreement that would give school principals, managers and psychologists the same raises that teachers receive over the next five years.

The district’s principals, managers and psychologists bargain collectively with the district under the name Palo Alto Management Association.

The teachers union has reached a tentative agreement with the district for a 2% raise and 2% one-time bonus, which would cost $3.6 million for the 2018-19 school year and $2.4 million each year after that.

Under the proposed deal, the management association’s members would get the same percentage raises this year and each year through the 2022-23 school year. The deal with the management association still must be ratified by both sides.

Management association members would receive $1,000 a year for professional development, which could be used toward a graduate degree, an administrative credential program or member dues in the Association of California School Administrators. The last agreement between the management association and the district provided for $2,000 a year for professional development.

Currently the salaries for school principals range from $103,532 a year to $177,778 per year.

Other managers, coordinators and directors make between $103,532 and $184,514.

Psychologists make between $110,272 and $146,008.

Each graduate degree adds another $2,496.

Once a manager makes it to the highest pay “step,” increments of $3,244 are added to their salary every few years.

When including benefits, 15 principals made between $206,000 and $250,000 in 2017, according to Transparent California.

The proposed raise for teachers comes a year after the teachers union refused to return a 3% raise that the district erroneously released.

After the 2016 contract with the teachers union was approved, which promised a 12% raise over three years, district officials realized they had overestimated property tax revenue. That led to a financial crisis, so the school board decided to reopen contract negotiations and cut the 3% raise and 1% to 2% bonus.

But the district’s then-HR chief, Scott Bowers, missed the deadline to do so in March 2017. After the accidental raise made the news in the summer of 2017, board members said it would jeopardize the possibility of future raises. In February 2018, the union returned the 2% bonus, but kept the 3% raise. The raise cost the district $4.4 million.


  1. Across-the-board raises based simply on what another bargaining unit got? No way. For these “professionals”, raises should be tied to meeting performance goals, like any other professional in the real world. The school board shouldn’t even consider this.

  2. In the last school board election, the candidates were bloviating about how they’d end “me too” raises, where the administrators get what the teachers get. Funny how fast they forgot about that.

  3. @R.D.: Agreed. And some of them should just be fired because they don’t do anything useful – I can name several at Gunn.

  4. If the school board fired administrators who let sex offenders into our schools, I’d favor this raise. But they don’t care about student safety or anything else, so I’d say forget the raise.

  5. The real problem with the board caving on “me too” raises is that it gives the teachers union more power in negotiations. Now the teachers will have everybody on staff supporting them when they bargain with the district. Also, by giving up on incentive pay, the board is essentially saying to Austin, “Don’t bother trying to manage these people. Just give them automatic raises.” What company gives management across-the-board automatic raises pegged to what the lower level employees get? This is a sure sign that the school board is just giving up and letting the teachers union run everything.

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