The Pickerington Local School District's school board last month approved more contract days and new salary ranges for the district's administrators, with an eye on providing competitive, performance-based raises.
The board July 28 voted 4-0, with member Cathy Olshefski absent, to eliminate "step" increases for school administrators, which essentially provided automatic raises based on years of experience in the district.
In place of the step system, the board approved new salary ranges for each administrative position, which board President Jim Brink said were established after a recent pay study indicated the district could be at risk of losing principals, superintendents and other top talent if salaries were not adjusted.
"We've been working on this for a couple of years," Brink said. "We're not paying people quite to the level they should be paid.
"That makes attracting and maintaining (staffing with) good people quite difficult at times."
The updated policy related to salary ranges impacts 67 district positions.
While the board won't weigh in on individual administrative salaries until at least Monday, Aug. 11, information provided by PLSD Treasurer Ryan Jenkins indicated the impending action is expected to increase the district's costs for those employees by a total of $101,196 in fiscal year 2015.
In addition, the board approved extending the number of days those administrators are contracted to work annually.
Brink said that adjustment was made because many administrators were forced to request additional days of pay for working more than their contract requirements.
"We were often having to give people extended-duty time ... which suggests that doing the job takes more days," he said.
Depending on the position, administrators' contracted days will go from 200 to 210, 220 to 260 or 230 to 260, Jenkins said.
"If you talk to most of your principals, they're already working these days," Jenkins said.
Brink added that while the new salary ranges have been approved and step increases were eliminated, the district is honing its evaluation criteria for each administrative post.
The goal, he said, is to compensate administrators competitively with other districts, and to provide raises within the allotted pay scales based on merit and not longevity.
"The issue is we want to be able to pay people based on performance and we want to be able to be competitive with other districts," he said. "I view it very, very positively.
"When you have a fixed (pay) schedule, it seems to be an ancient way of thinking. It's not like people are performing badly because of that, but it's better from a management perspective for the reward of extra pay to be for performance."