Teachers chief irked by principal’s raise
The Sonoma Valley school board Tuesday set a new salary schedule for the high school principal the district is trying to hire, but not before the head of the local teachers union voiced some objections.
The board raised the starting salary for the high school principal from $91,380 to $103,489, a 13.25 percent hike. The top end salary rises from $101,310 to $115,000 with additional money for an earned master’s degree and an earned doctorate degree.
The board went off the salary schedule the last time it hired a principal, Dino Battaglini, and signed a contract for $128,500 a year.
The district surveyed various area districts, including Windsor, Napa, Petaluma City, Santa Rosa City, West Sonoma and Novato.
Deputy Superintendent Justin Frese told the board, “We want to make sure we’re competitive. But we want to be in the middle of the pack.”
But Bob Gossett, president of the Valley of the Moon Teachers Association, described the move as “bad timing.”
“Clearly, this places one position above the others,” he said. “That’s a 12-and-a-half percent raise … that’s a dramatic increase. And dramatically above the teachers.”
Gossett asked why Healdsburg and Rohnert Park-Cotati weren’t included in the survey figures while Napa and Novato were.
“I hope we can look at Napa and Novato when we’re negotiating for the teachers,” he said. The district and the teachers are currently negotiating a new contract.
With the old salary scale, Sonoma was at the bottom of the six other districts surveyed. Sonoma’s top was $101,310; Windsor topped out at $101,422; Petaluma City at $108,623; Santa Rosa at $109,934; West Sonoma at $115,574; Napa at $125,877 and Novato topped out at $128,806.
Superintendent Louann Carlomagno said applicants for the principal’s position are looking at the pay. “They’re going on the website to see what we pay,” she said. “And we want to hire a principal next month.”
The deadline for applications is today, Friday, March 15. The district is also looking for a principal for Prestwood Elementary School and a new director of curriculum and instruction. Lynn Fitzpatrick, the former head of curriculum and instruction assumed the interim principal’s position at the high school in January and will be retiring at the end of the school year.
Board president Dan Gustafson said, “We do what it takes. This is a highly visible, highly challenging position. I don’t know when it’s good timing.”
The board approved the pay range hike 4-0 with trustee Nicole Ducarroz absent.