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Spotsylvania School Board members concerned about salaries for teachers.
He said he is getting input on priorities and savings ideas from a Budget Advisory Committee, of which 70 percent of the members are parents and other community members.
Next month, he also should have the results of a review by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents that should include an analysis of the division's salary scale.
In his first year as superintendent, Baker said he is evaluating how the division operates to see if there are areas where he can improve efficiency.
Board members were surprised to see that Spotsylvania's assistant principals start at the second-highest salary among 11 Virginia districts surveyed, behind only Arlington County.
However, none of the board members interviewed said assistant principals are overpaid.
The survey data provide the range of salaries that are advertised by divisions, not necessarily what any individual is earning.
Spotsylvania's assistant principals start high but fall toward the back of the districts surveyed when it comes to maximum pay.
Principals also rank second to Arlington at the beginning of the pay scale, but drop to the middle of the pack for the maximum salary.
Baker cautioned against thinking the advertised salary is a true barometer of what people are paid in other jurisdictions, especially at the low end of the scale.
"It would surprise me if they were paying very many of their administrators at that level," he said.
Board member Gil Seaux said he's concerned about pay for all employees when costs such as electricity, diesel fuel and heating oil are rising. He also said Spotsylvania's recruiting concerns aren't as severe because there are fewer teacher positions available nationwide these days.
Seaux and his colleagues also pointed out that Spotsylvania offers more for current and prospective teachers than pay. They said employees have a good benefits package, support from administrators and the community, and a nice place to live.
Even at that, board members said their top priorities remain unchanged.
The first is to keep class sizes from increasing, said Board Chairwoman Linda Wieland. The second is to address the needs of staff.
"They are who make us what we are," Wieland said. "We have to protect them."
Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972
Below are starting salaries
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