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updated: 2/27/2014 5:14 PM

Dist. 73 board OKs 3-percent raises for administrators

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Administrators at Hawthorn Elementary District 73 will get a 3 percent raise next year and a similar amount the following year, in what school officials say is a means to keep a quality team intact.

The school board earlier this week voted 6-0 to authorize board President Jeff Bard to sign employment contracts with 18 administrators covered by the pact.

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Administrators include positions such as assistant or associate superintendents, principals, directors and coordinators. They are not part of a union but receive the same salary adjustments in a given year. Superintendent Nick Brown's contract is not included in the action and is negotiated separately.

Administrators must be notified by March 1 if their contracts are not being renewed. The agreements are effective May 15 through June 30, 2016.

District 73 employs 20 administrators but only two part-timers are expected to leave, according to Brad Goldstein, associate superintendent of finance and business operations for the Vernon Hills-based district.

Bard said in an email to the Daily Herald that District 73 administrators historically have been on one-year contracts. Compensation in other districts was reviewed as District 73 wants to ensure it is competitive and can retain quality administrators, he added.

"We have had some administrators approached by other districts and, where possible, we do not want to lose key members of our team," he said. The decision to offer two years was "to show a commitment" to the administrators, he added.

Under terms of the contract, administrators will receive a 3-percent increase on their current salaries for the 2014-15 school year and an increase of 2 percent or 80 percent of the Consumer Price Index (whichever is greater) for 2015-16.

Goldstein said the most recent CPI is 1.5 percent and the 20-year average is 2.4 percent.

"We wanted to set a floor of 2 percent," he said. The increase will cost the district an additional $39,117 for the first year.

Pension reform also factored into the discussion.

The district's pension contribution will be reduced by 1 percent going forward and that amount was passed through to administrators the first year, Goldstein added.

Also, as of June 1, the maximum salary on which an employee's pension is calculated at retirement will be capped at $110,000.

Bard said the administrative contracts were approved based on increases in their health care costs, the district's pension contributions being reduced and, to provide a competitive compensation.

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