While I digest Dianne Critchlow’s newly-released (and exorbitant) district credit card bills (starting on page 11), let’s take a look at the recent decision by several Fox administrators to take a voluntary 5% pay cut. This decision was publicized as a sign that the district was turning the page on the bloated salaries of the past, and the six men who participated in the act were featured in a centerfold, more or less, in the Leader on July 31. Let me say for starters that the men do deserve some credit, since they were in no way required to take these pay cuts. But let’s take a look at their true impact, so we can keep the cuts, which will save the district about $50,000 on these six, in perspective.
I have created a table showing the salaries of each participating administrator (Andy Arbeitman, Dan Baker [he of the online posting scandal], John Brazeal, Tim Crutchley, Lorenzo Rizzi, and Todd Scott) over the past several years, based on data from the district and from the Leader. All but Brazeal (CFO) are assistant superintendents (Crutchley is now acting superintendent). Arbeitman and Brazeal recently joined the district, so I am including their final salary at their previous districts (click to enlarge).
Brazeal is given credit in the Leader article for leading the way on the pay cuts. But note from the chart above that Brazeal was given a 24% raise to come to Fox. In his last year at Affton (also as CFO), Brazeal was paid $132,991; Fox bumped that up to $165,000. The 5% cut brought Brazeal down to $156,750, which means his raise stands at a mere 18%.
Dan Baker, who was docked two weeks pay for his role in the Critchlow scandal, will see his pay drop to $148,335 (not counting the two weeks deduction). This is still more than his 2012-13 salary of $147,855. So he had most – but not all – of his $8,300 of raises over the past two years wiped out. Crutchley, Rizzi, and Scott saw their pay drop below their 2012-13 salaries. I suspect many people who live in the Fox district are being paid an amount similar to what they received two years ago, but for very different reasons. Arbeitman’s pay cut upon coming to Fox stems from the fact that he was a superintendent at De Soto and took a demotion to join the district.
Something else that jumps out is the difference between what the four longer-term administrators were paid between 2011 and 2013 versus what their contracts said they were to be paid. All were on three-year contracts that began with the 2010-11 school year, and these contracts spelled out their exact pay for each school year covered by the deal. But in 2011-12, each admin made at least $4,000 more than the contract amount, and in 2012-13 each made at least $11,000 more. The contracts state that the administrator salaries are calculated by taking 1.5 times the highest salary in the doctorate column of the teacher salary schedule and multiplying by the “administrative salary schedule percentages.” I may be wrong, but I don’t think rising teacher salaries were the cause of these big administrator raises. Crutchley and Rizzi both got raises of about 11% going into the 2012-13 school year, while Baker and Scott saw their salaries go up about 8%.
The Leader article says that 40 other administrators are being “encouraged” to also take the 5% cut. As of late July, Crutchley said about 20 of them said they planned to do so. I think that’s the least they can do. The names of all who take the cut, and all who don’t, should be publicized as well.