BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
The Palo Alto school board tonight (May 28) will be discussing five-digit increases to the base salary ranges for top administrators, but Superintendent Don Austin said yesterday that the raises in the proposal wouldn’t be as large as they may sound.
The proposal would increase the salary ranges for five positions in Austin’s “executive cabinet” to all start at more than $200,000 per year without offering $5,400 annual car allowances, $3,200 longevity stipends every three to five years, $2,500 stipends for advanced degrees or $480 annual cellphone stipends.
The administrators will still be reimbursed for using their cars for work-related travel.
The affected positions are the deputy superintendent, chief business officer, both chief academic officers and the assistant superintendent of strategic initiatives.
For example, the current salary schedule lists the chief business officer’s base salary as between $188,481 and $208,048 per year. The proposed range is $240,000 to $270,122 in five salary “steps.”
Under the current system of stipends for advanced degrees and seniority, top administrators get an additional $2,496 each year per graduate degree and a $3,244 raise every three to five years once they’ve reached the top end of the base salary range.
Austin’s proposal would increase certain administrators’ base salaries but do away with those stipends.
The reformed salary schedule is an effort to comply with State Teachers Retirement System guidelines and to better align with the Association of California School Administrators, according to Austin.
Although the base salary ranges would be increasing by $17,900 to $62,000 per year, Austin said that none of the current administrators are actually up for raises that large when combining all of the elements of their employment contracts.
What they would make
Austin pointed out that Chief Business Officer Jim Novak, who is retiring next month after less than a year with the district, makes $265,000 per year.
Carolyn Chow, whom the board will decide whether to confirm as Novak’s replacement tonight, would be making $240,000 per year.
Under the proposed salaries, the deputy superintendent, a position that was created for Karen Hendricks last year, would be making between $240,000 and $270,122.
Hendricks is up for a raise from her current $240,000 to $247,200 per year. She was paid $223,884 as interim superintendent last year.
A proposed contract for Yolanda Conaway, whose position as assistant superintendent of strategic initiatives and operations is being renamed assistant superintendent of equity and student affairs, brings her to $212,592 per year.
Conaway was hired in July 2017 at a base salary of $196,063 per year.
Anne Brown, the district’s assistant superintendent for elementary education, has been offered a $218,969 contract under the proposal.
Brown, then the principal of Barron Park Elementary School, was tapped in October 2017 to serve as interim assistant superintendent of human resources on a $128,666 contract for 147 workdays, the equivalent of $196,062 for the assistant superintendents’ 224-day work year.
She became the assistant superintendent of elementary education in July.
Sharon Ofek, the district’s assistant superintendent for secondary education, is being offered $225,538 per year. In July 2016, she signed a contract that paid her a base salary of $196,063 per year.
Under that contract, Ofek is entitled to a 2% retroactive raise. Austin said none of the other members of the executive cabinet would be getting a raise for the year 2018-2019, though Hendricks, Novak, Brown, Ofek and Conaway are all being offered 2% bonuses on their current salaries.