Principals, directors get experience factor raise in two-year deal

2011-09-15T00:00:00Z 2011-10-07T01:58:52Z Principals, directors get experience factor raise in two-year dealBy Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
September 15, 2011 12:00 am  • 

The Butte school board accepted the administrators’ counter offer Wednesday that included an overall 5 percent raise and ends a bitter stalemate that shut down schools last week.

In a 6-0 vote, the board approved the two-year contract. The raise includes 4 percent for the “experience factor” and a 1 percent base pay raise for the 15 principals, assistant principals and directors.

The proposal also calls for a base salary freeze next year. But the deal maintains the current cap of 3o percent total for the experience factor, which is cumulated through the years of an administrator’s service. The administrators were asking for a 

45 percent cap on the experience factor, but dropped the request in their latest offer.

“It’s been a trying few weeks,” Patti Hepola, board chairwoman, said after the vote. She was joined by trustees Debbie Shea, Rayelynn Connole, Ann Boston, John Ries, Linda Sorini Granger and Carol Wold.

Bill Rowe, representative for the Teamsters Union who negotiated for the administrators, said in a telephone interview the deal is fair. He said administrators received the experience factor increase they wanted.

“It was the same thing we were asking for all along,” he said. “It’s a good thing for everybody.”

Administrators’ annual gross salaries for 2010 ranged from $62,483 to $97,017.

Administrators also accepted the $25 per month increase in their health insurance premiums. That’s the only thing that can be opened for negotiation next year under the two-year contract.

Pat Fleming, a Butte lawyer representing the district, said the board was involved throughout the negotiations.

“It’s been a long process,” he said. “There was a lot of work that went into it behind the scenes.”

Granger expressed relief that the schools won’t shut down again.

“I’m just glad it’s over,” she said.

The contract saves the district roughly $1,500 this year over what it had offered the administrators, said J.R. Richardson, business manager.

“Two percent of the base would have been better for them in the first year,” he said.

But he said because the board hadn’t considered a two-year deal, he hadn’t yet calculated what the rise in the experience factor will cost the district in the long run.

Last week school closed for two days while the administrators were on strike. But on Thursday, Judge Brad Newman, following a lawsuit filed by parents, barred administrators from striking, and scheduled a Friday hearing to consider whether to make the order permanent. That hearing won’t be necessary with Wednesday’s contract agreement.


— Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. toddyboy
    Report Abuse
    toddyboy - September 16, 2011 9:29 am
    To mttrailboss; Dear sir, you are certainly an exception to the rule. I sincerely appreciate your opinions, as you are obviously an educated man. Some dear/personal friends of mine attended Stanford, as well as Notre Dame and Boston College. The point I was trying to illustrate is everyone wants something for nothing. You can't put those folks that didn't earn the credentials to do the jobs that people in the educational system do on the same level as those those that work for a minimal wage. There is a reason they get paid for what they do. I mopped floors myself before, during, and after the military. Again after earning a college education. I simply don't believe these men and women were asking for a whole lot. What they did ask for (and were given) was a lot less than what it cost to hire lawyers and have meetings. So why wasn't it given to them in the first place? I think the public gets a pretty good deal for what the schools provide (perspective-daycare/education/athletics) them at the price they provide it for. For those that think otherwise, they are more than welcome to jump on board or educate their children at home. As for you "mttrailboss" I appreciate, sincerely, you for contributing some intelligent dialogue to a heated debate. You also understand the sacrifices that are made to choose what it takes to live in a wonderful place. That was the point of my post. I don't think five percent is going to kill the taxpaying population of Butte-Silver Bow. We all pay taxes, at least those of us that work, and that is most of us. The folks that are tasked with a responsibility greater than we can possibly fathom (Col. Jessup/Jack Nicholson-"A Few Good Men") deserve what they earn, and earn what they deserve. Either that or pick up a backpack and study for an educational/adminstrative license. As for you sir, I, once again thank you for lending your talents and intelligence for a lesser salary in trade for the quality of life you enjoy in SW MT. Part of the quality though comes at a small price. I hope you are okay with paying it. Go Cardinals!
  2. mttrailboss
    Report Abuse
    mttrailboss - September 15, 2011 5:43 pm
    'toddyboy'.., I simply 'disagree' with you and your analogy on education requirements for Butte, Montana for employment or job opportunites. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Stanford University. My wife and I made a 'choice' and decided to move to Butte, Montana, because of the aesthetic beauty of southwest Montana and its people. Thats right.., its genuine down to earth, help your neighbor attitude. A 'can-do' city with real people. I could have gone to work for Hewlett-Packard in Corporate Headquaters in Palo Alto, California on Page Mill Road within Silicon Valley. Our family talked and we decided that Montana Power Company (MPC) was a better 'choice' for our family and children, and the cost of living. When I read in the newspaper, their salaries and they wanted more, including going on strike to get it, is NOT why I and my family moved to Butte, Montana. We love Butte and Butte will be in our blood forever, as the last best place to live and raise a family, including future. Your comment and education analogy was off base and not the reason the majority of people live here. They do not deserve the raise in salary for this size of school district. This is NOT Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago or Philadelphia and or Silicon Valley cities.., if the shoe fits, wear it.
  3. toddyboy
    Report Abuse
    toddyboy - September 15, 2011 12:33 pm
    Does the average citizen in Butte have a bachelor's degree, several years of experience teaching, a master's degree, and then several years of administrating? All so the Butte schools can provide a place to send students for tax paid daycare/education or an athletic forum. For those of you complaining about what those in the education profession make then you should think about paying them daycare wages. $7.25/hr x 6.5 hrs x student population (Butte H.S. alone is @1439 students). Or better yet close all the schools, save all your taxpayer money, and educate your kids at home the way you see fit in the comfort and privacy of your house. Either that or go back to college and earn the credentials to make this "huge" salary.
  4. mttrailboss
    Report Abuse
    mttrailboss - September 15, 2011 12:01 pm
    After reading in the newspaper, the salaries for all concerned. They should all be ashamed of themselves for the strike and raise in their salary per year. Since the average citizen in Butte makes around $22,000 per year or less. They should be more than ashamed of the strike and salary increase. There are parents in Butte, that are trying their level best to keep their head above water with the economy, recession again, unemployment, medical expenses, mortgage or rent, utilities, cable cost (if they can afford cable, phone and broadband), gas, oil and maintenance, clothing for child or children, and just trying to put food on the table for oneselve, family with children. What a despicable, disgraceful lot, including the union. When I read, what they make per year, for this size of school district.., it made me sick to my stomach. This is NOT Los Angeles, San Francisco or any other large metropolitan city, where the student population is bigger and more challenging in many different ways, concerning education. I and a lot more citizens of Butte, are NOT going to forget what has just happened. Sorry.., your not worth the salary before and or now. Average citizen of Butte and parents that are 'barely making it' on their monthly budget, as it is and you ask, and strike for more money. You should all be ashamed of yourselfs. Talk about greedy..
  5. jhburton
    Report Abuse
    jhburton - September 15, 2011 10:25 am
    How is it that the Business Manager, whose job it is to calculate the cost of these contracts to SD#1, didn't calculate the cost of the 2 year deal given to the administrators before the School Board voted to approve it?


    How can the Board of Trustees say they upheld their fiduciary duty to the taxpayers of BSB by approving the administrators' contract if they didn't know its cost?


    Why didn't they ask the Business Manager to perform a cost ananlysis of their offer prior to giving it their approval?
  6. Realist777
    Report Abuse
    Realist777 - September 15, 2011 9:47 am
    "Truth is treason in the empire of lies." Ron Paul 2012
  7. tarfu
    Report Abuse
    tarfu - September 15, 2011 8:02 am
    "Granger expressed relief that the schools won’t shut down again.

    “I’m just glad it’s over,” she said."

    Way to go crumbling under the union hacks pressure.

    When election time comes, we will gladly take you back to your comfort zone.

    The time is NOW to start cracking down on public unions. Especially ones that cater to management.

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