RTM members said they were dismayed that the school administrators’ union had not struck a similar compromise with the Board of Education, and instead decided to pursue more generous terms than what was initially proposed.
“The feeling was that we were asking the (school) administrators to help us, and they were just like, ‘Forget it,'” Caldwell said. “People felt other unions were being treated inequitably.”
The teachers’ union has avoided major concessions on wages and benefits this fiscal year, despite pressure from the school board.
New Lebanon School Principal Gene Nyitray, a GOSA co-president, defended his union’s decision to pursue a contract that he believes reflects the high expectations and work load placed on school administrators.
“We’re sensitive to the economic situation, and we respect the work of our colleagues, but this is a managerial union with unique leadership responsibilities,” he said. “People entrust their children to us, and that’s an awesome responsibility.”
The administrators’ wage increase next fiscal year is expected to take a more than $100,000 chunk out of the district’s roughly $126 million budget in the 2010-11 year, according to board member Steve Anderson. He said it was too early to tell what areas of the education budget could be affected by that.
Between administrators’ salaries and benefits, he said, the new labor agreement is expected to cost the town, on average, nearly $8.5 million per year over the next three years. That marks an annual “cost of contract” of, on average, 1.09 percent over the current contract.
“The key is to understand how important it is for (state) arbitrators to realize that Greenwich cannot always lay golden eggs,” Anderson said. “Every town’s resources are finite.”
Under its 2007-10 contract, approved by the board following negotiations in 2007, administrators received a general wage increase of 3.5 percent in each of the three school years.
That contract also included a performance-pay component during the first two school years that was eliminated in the third in an effort by the school board to come up with additional savings in the 2009-10 education budget.
Under the current contract’s seniority-based salary structure, after three years, the high school headmaster makes more than $167,000; the high school’s five housemasters make nearly $136,000; middle school principals make about $152,000; and elementary principals make about $144,000.