Board learns local school jobs pay less

Sean C. Morgan

According to a salary comparison presented to the District 55 School Board Monday night, Sweet Home administrators receive below-average salaries, teachers receive slightly below-average salaries and classified employees are paid above average for most positions.

Business Manager Kevin Strong gathered data from other 4A school districts with single high schools, most with between 2,000 and 3,000 students, a total of 15 districts. Data from several districts were not available, he said.

Supt. Larry Horton makes 8.3 percent less than comparable districts at $102,165. Only Winston-Dillard’s superintendent makes less at $97,692.

Strong noted that the district does not contribute to Horton’s insurance benefits. He pays the full premium.

Sweet Home Junior High School Principal Hal Huschka came the closest to the average at $85,144, compared to an average of $87,586.

Sweet Home teachers at the top step with a bachelor’s degree, earning $44,740, were 1.4 percent below average, $45,092, while teachers at the top step with a master’s degree plus 45 credits, earning $59,106, were off the average by only .5 percent.

Bus drivers earn $17.39 per hour in Sweet Home, compared to an average of $15.99, 8.8 percent more than average. Custodians earn $20.16 per hour, 21.9 percent more than the average. Library and media assistants earn 12.4 percent more, and cooks earn 5.3 percent more.

For teachers, several districts did not report salary levels, and in the case of classified employees, some work is contracted.

The numbers assume that none of the districts have furlough days scheduled, although the district is proposing four days next year, which will decrease overall compensation.

District 55 pays the employees’ contribution to the Public Employees Retirement System, Strong said. Districts reporting their salary levels typically note whether the district picks up PERS for teachers and administrators, but it isn’t as clear with classified employees.

Strong also compared Sweet Home to the Lebanon and Albany districts.

“There’s some we’re pretty competitive with Albany on,” Strong said. “There’s some we’re not competitive with Albany on.”

Sweet Home is generally competitive with Lebanon, he said.

Instructional assistants weren’t listed in the first comparisons, but they were listed in the Linn County comparisons.

Instructional assistants at the top step earn $13.75 per hour in Sweet Home, compared to $13.99 in Albany and $13.50 in Lebanon. Sweet Home secretaries and office managers earn $17.39 per hour, while Lebanon pays $18.42 and Albany pays $21.56.

Present at the board meeting were board members Leena Neuschwander, Billie Weber, Chanz Keeney, Dale Keene, Jason Redick, Mike Reynolds, David VanDerlip, John Fassler and Jenny Daniels.