SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Sioux Falls school administrators are getting a sizable raise this year, as much as $10,000 for some principals. It's part of a plan to increase salaries across the board.
The pay increase plan goes all the way back to 2006, during an evaluation of the first 10 years of the state-aid funding formula. Teachers received 10 percent raises over three years, and now it's administrators' turn.
"Our administrators agreed at the time to hold off on their pay increase until others were paid for, so our fund balance didn't dip dangerously low," Sioux Falls Business Manager Todd Vik said.
A typical elementary principal in Sioux Falls will make around $90,000, middle school principals are looking at $110,000, and the three main high school principals' salaries will increase to $127,000.
Vik says it's a huge improvement over the usual 2.8 percent yearly increase, provided by the state funding formula.
"Average increases for private area workers was over 4 percent, so we thought if we don't try to catch up, we'll lose staff members to the private workforce," Vik said.
Vik says not only were the salaries a little off-par with the private sector, they were also off-par with their peers around the nation. Administrators checked a national database that compares districts of similar size.
"We found out we're 20 percent below administrative costs,” Vik said. “It doesn't have administrative salaries, but administrative costs per student."
The district is drawing on the fund balance, which saw unexpected growth in the years leading up to the recession. Even when tough times hit, administrators were still committed to following through for administrators.
"To come in and say, 'We made this deal with you and we can't keep it anymore,' would be bad faith on our part," Vik said.
Click here for a look at administrator salaries
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