Miami-Dade school district administrators have more earning potential under a revamped salary schedule.
Last week, the School Board unanimously increased the maximum salaries possible for managers by 10 percent to 30 percent, or between $6,191 and $34,755, depending on the pay grade. The board also approved several new positions and promoted some individual administrators.
On Wednesday, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the new pay schedule is a needed adjustment, giving the flexibility to retain and recruit top talent in the district, which has garnered national accolades, most recently the Broad Prize in education.
Carvalho told board members at a committee meeting that no administrators would see immediate raises under the revised pay plan, except for those employees who had specific promotions and moved up a pay grade. The schedule outlines the pay ranges for about 1,300 employees considered managerial exempt, professional and technical personnel, or MEP.
“This is good policy going forward,” Carvalho said.
Still, the news of the higher salary caps hit a sour note with some teachers, who recently ratified a new contract that gave a 2.7 percent raise on average to instructors and a 2.25 percent raise to school staff like security guards and clerical staff.
“I think it’s very degrading to us,” said Lily Martini-Padron, a kindergarten teacher. “The ones who are dealing with the children are the ones who should have incentives and not someone who’s working in the School Board building.”
United Teachers of Dade President Karen Aronowitz called it “unconscionable” to raise the caps by so much.
“It seems to me if 2.25 percent is all you can offer to the least-paid employees, that ought to be what you offer to the best-paid,” Aronowitz said. “In truth, it says that we pretend to value you.”
In the new contract, some mid-career teachers will see a pay raise of less than 1 percent, or about $300 more a year. The bulk of the teacher raises will go to the most veteran instructors.
Meanwhile, top-paid administrators who work outside of schools can now earn up to $174,000; the previous limit was $145,462. Non-school managers on the lowest pay grade can now earn up to $68,000, nearly $6,200 more than before. The biggest bumps in earning potential: the cap for the second-highest step grew by $34,755 to $164,000 and for pay grade 22, the maximum was lifted 30 percent from $102,666 to $134,000.
Carvalho said the size and pay for the district’s administration has shrunk during his tenure. Since 2008, the number of people making more than $100,000 has dropped by 44 percent to 339 employees, and positions in the superintendent’s office paying more than $200,000 have been eliminated
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which manages a nearly $4 billion annual budget, is the fourth-largest in the country and also is the largest employer in Miami-Dade.
Carvalho said Wednesday that the district’s salaries are not competitive with other large governments and warned high-level administrators are being wooed away. He mentioned former chief academic officer Nikolai Vitti who left to lead Duval County Public Schools and the current chief academic officer, Milagros Fornell, who was offered a $50,000 raise to be deputy school chief in Orange County. Carvalho said the new schedule will give current managers incentive to stay and also allow the district to advertise more competitive salary ranges for open positions, so it doesn’t fall prey to “leadership poachers.”
Among the recent promotions approved by the board:
• Enid Weisman, assistant superintendent of human resources, was promoted to chief human capital officer, at a higher pay grade.
• Judith Marte, chief budget officer, was promoted to deputy chief financial officer as part of a succession management program. The change moved her pay grade from 25 to the highest, 26.
• Maria Izquierdo was promoted from administrative director in school operations to a new position of assistant superintendent of academics, accountability and school improvement. The promotion includes a higher pay grade, with a range of $106,245 to $164,000.
The School Board approved other new titles like assistant superintendent of human capital; assistant superintendent of innovation and school choice; and economic opportunity development officer.