Wicomico County Public Schools: Are Pay Increases for Administrators Proportionate to Faculty?
For years, there's been talk in the community that teachers are underpaid, and that administration receives larger annual pay increases as compared to non-administrative faculty. In investigating this matter, we had to look at salaries across the board to analyze what's fact, fiction, and individual perception.
As state employees, the salary of every administrator and teacher is public information and can be easily obtained from govsalaries.com for Wicomico County Public Schools (WCPS). It's no secret and not confidential. Because the information that's reported to the state includes pension contribution and bonuses, the salaries are somewhat inflated. In all fairness to the school system, we needed to assess the salaries with actual base salary numbers so that our results would not be skewed.
For the sake of accuracy, a FOIA was filed to WCPS to request 4 years' worth of salaries, which we received. The objective was to analyze the numbers to make sure that administrative pay increases were proportionate to faculty pay increases. First, some positions were selected within administration and secondly, positions of non-administrative faculty. We looked at random positions throughout, and used the median salary for each position.
You can see in the Administration Salary Scale below, that some administrators are paid "off the chart." This reveals that some are receiving a greater salary than established in the scale, even taking into account the adjustments listed at the bottom.
In addition, we can see that administration took some hefty pay increases on six figure incomes in 2021 when faculty generally received much less. In 2021 , there appears to be a greater focus on increases for administration and not as much on faculty, despite the fact that they received millions of dollars in COVID relief funds above and beyond the normal annual operating budget (which in itself received a 3.8% budgetary increase). For the 2022 school year, pay increases were generally more conservative across the board.
Percentile does not accurately gauge equal distributions, because a 5% increase on a $45,000 salary ($2,250) is much different from 5% on a $130,000 salary ($6,500). An example of applying equal distribution using the salaries from this example, the administrator would be more like 2% if 5% for the employee.
There are several factors that determine pay increases for staff and administration, which can include number of years of service, experience, degrees, certifications, increased duties, etc. With what limited information we do have, we are limited to what we can analyze across the board. For the exception of 2021, we can conclude from the chart above that there's a consistent pattern of increases for faculty as well as administrators.
When looking at the salaries and cost of living on the Eastern Shore, salaries for faculty appear to be higher than most employment positions found in local businesses and non-profit organizations, receiving an average 10% increase in pay over the course of 4 years. Although this may not be the case for all employees (more or less), it's an average.
23 random teachers were asked if they feel they're adequately compensated. Most were content and felt that the pay and benefits are very good. There are always some that feel differently about their compensation for various reasons. They were also asked if they see value in the WCEA (Teachers' Union), and the answer was "NO." Every single person felt exploited by the WCEA - those who are members, those who were members, and those who are not members. We don't have enough information to draw a conclusion on overall teacher morale as it relates to being content with compensation, but the general consensus appeared to be positive.
In the end, we need to make sure that our teachers are adequately and proportionately compensated with all things considered. We must retain and attract new quality teachers without spending ($1,918,254) annually on recruitment. If we are doing things right, new teachers will be knocking on our door with a great desire to work for WCPS. We can get there, and look forward to that day!
Darren Lombardo, Candidate
Wicomico County Board of Education At Large
January 29, 2022 Copyright DelmarvaPTC.org