A pay raise approved for Wichita teachers means a pay raise for the district’s top administrator. Superintendent Alicia Thompson will make an additional $14,520 a year, bringing her base annual salary to $254,520. Her total financial package after Friday is $297,460 a year. Candi Bolden/Wichita Eagle
A pay raise approved for Wichita teachers means a pay raise for the district’s top administrator. Superintendent Alicia Thompson will make an additional $14,520 a year, bringing her base annual salary to $254,520. Her total financial package after Friday is $297,460 a year. Candi Bolden/Wichita Eagle

Education

School superintendent gets $14,520 raise after five months on job

By Suzanne Perez Tobias

stobias@wichitaeagle.com

November 17, 2017 03:03 PM

UPDATED November 17, 2017 06:46 PM

A pay raise approved for Wichita teachers will mean a significant pay raise for the district’s top administrator as well.

Superintendent Alicia Thompson will make an additional $14,520 a year – an increase of 6.05 percent, which is “the average teacher compensation increase,” according to district officials.

First day of school for Wichita superintendent

Alicia Thompson, the first Wichita superintendent who attended school in the district, spent the first day of school visiting classrooms and talking about her vision for the district. (Aug. 23, 2017)

stobias@wichitaeagle.com

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.

That brings Thompson’s base annual salary to $254,520. Her total financial package after Friday is $297,460 a year.

School board members unanimously approved a new teacher contract – and Thompson’s raise – during a special meeting Friday.

The contract, approved by Wichita teachers earlier this week, raises teacher pay by 3.95 percent and reinstates shorter school days and a longer school year. The contract also includes some compensation for additional experience and education, known as steps and tracks.

District officials said the average increase for teachers, including steps and tracks, under the new contract is 6.05 percent. So that’s the raise Thompson received.

A clause in Thompson’s contract says her salary “will be automatically increased each year to an amount that is equivalent to the percentage amount of increase that the School Board approves for teachers.”

Just before Friday’s vote, board member Joy Eakins raised questions about the superintendent’s raise, saying she thought it should go into effect after Thompson’s first full year on the job.

Thompson’s official start date was July 1, though she served as superintendent in June, while previous superintendent John Allison took a three-week vacation. The board paid Thompson an additional $8,506 for those weeks.

“This is not about the quality of work the superintendent is doing – she’s doing an outstanding job,” Eakins said. “But generally you would expect someone to finish a year working before getting a raise.”

Board members Sheril Logan and Betty Arnold said previous superintendents received raises along with teachers, as spelled out in their contracts, and Thompson should, too.

“We’ve always, in the past, given the superintendent whatever percentage of raise is appropriate right along with the teachers,” Logan said. “And I am not uncomfortable with doing that.”

The district’s original contract with Thompson, approved by the board in March, included a base salary of $240,000 a year. She also receives a $780-a-month car and mileage allowance, $525 a month for “professional, civic and incidental expenses” and a $25,000-a-year contribution to her retirement.

Friday’s raise brings Thompson’s total financial package to $297,460 a year – higher than her predecessor’s. Allison’s total annual package, which included retirement contributions in the form of pension “service credits,” was $288,068.

The Wichita board voted 6-0 to approve the 2017-18 teacher contract, which will include retroactive pay for teachers.

Teachers who qualify for longevity pay will receive those checks Nov. 30, said Shannon Krysl, head of human resources for the district. Salary increases and make-up payments from the beginning of the contract year – Aug. 1 – will be in December paychecks, Krysl said.

Meet the new Wichita schools superintendent

Alicia Thompson, who started in Wichita public schools as a kindergartner, will be the next superintendent of the state’s largest school district. "I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of kids.” (video by Jaime Green / The Wichita Eagle/Feb.2

jgreen@wichitaeagle.com

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias