Aberdeen Teacher Contract Beats Blue Ribbon Target Salary by $100

The Aberdeen School Board tonight takes up (and, by the time I finish typing this, may well have approved) the negotiated agreement with its teachers for the 2016–2017 school year. Aberdeen gave its teachers a two-year contract last year, but the Blue Ribbon teacher pay raises approved by the Legislature discombobulated that plan and brought the board and the teachers back to the table to fairly divide up the new sales tax money the state will be sending us come July 1 (remember, the extra half-penny sales tax kicks in on June 1, so the state can write those first extra checks in time for the start of the new school fiscal year).

The new contract will give every certified public school teacher in Aberdeen a 3% raise, plus $4,500 raise.

Based on my estimates, that agreement should raise the average teacher salary in the Aberdeen Central School District from $42,825 to $48,609, 0.2% above the state’s target of $48,500.

Turning to benefits, Aberdeen is dropping its $1,000-deductible health plan. It is keeping two cheaper plans, one with a $2,000 deductible, the other with a $3,000 deductible and a health savings account. Employees will pay $240 to $264 more over the year for their health plans; those taking the HSA plan will see district contributions to those accounts increase $240 for individual plans and $480 for family plans.

Hourly employees receive the same health coverage from Aberdeen’s self-insurance. Hourly employees will receive the 2.5% cost-of-living increase negotiated last year. The lowest hourly wage in the district will be $9.46 for an entry-level food service worker. The highest hourly wage will be $37.24 for the network administrator who reaches the new Step 15 on the schedule.

Administrators will receive $4,500 raises. Administrative base salaries will range from $56,000 for the food service director, $74,000 for our elementary principals and the A-TEC director, $80,000 for our two middle school principals, and $100,000 for our high school principal.

Last year, the board set Superintendent Becky Guffin’s salary for this year at $139,377 and for the coming school year at $143,027. This year’s agreement amends Dr. Guffin’s 2016–2017 school year pay to $143,877. Dr. Guffin served on the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel that produced the data and proposal necessary to drive over $60 million to the schools for teacher pay; Dr. Guffin is receiving only $850 in new money.

Aberdeen Central director of finance Tom Janish also gets an $850 bump over the amount promised in last year’s two-year contract. Janish will receive $123,749 in AY2017.

5 Responses to Aberdeen Teacher Contract Beats Blue Ribbon Target Salary by $100

  1. Darin Larson

    Baltic teachers will receive a $7,000 pay raise with a starting new teacher salary of around $39,000.


    Interestingly, Sioux Falls is not raising their base salary for new teachers much in comparison to their raises for their experienced teachers. Sioux Falls may have a problem attracting new teachers when their starting salary is a little over $35,000 and all the other districts that I am hearing about are in the 37,500 to 43,000 dollar range. If I recall correctly, experienced Sioux Falls teachers at the top end of the range could gain up to an $18,000 raise.

  2. Interesting point about the Sioux Falls base, Darin. At the same time, they are bumping each salary step up 6.82%. Teachers below the district average salary will see a 12% raise; those above district average will see 8.6% raises; net raise across the board for SF teachers will be 9.5%. By my calculations, that puts SF at an average teacher pay next year of $51,921 compared to Baltic’s estimated $44,666.

    Now the complicated math for young teachers looking for a story problem: do they put themselves in a better financial situation by working for a higher base and early-year pay at Baltic and investing that early money to make it grow for retirement or by taking the early hit with SF’s lower base and counting on reaching SF’s higher average down the road?

  3. Darin Larson

    Cory, it may be that some districts like Baltic gave a raise based on dollars per teacher. Thus, teachers at the lower end of the pay scale get a larger percentage raise compared to teachers that are making more currently. This was mentioned in the new law as one of its purposes in what I would term non-binding guidance.

    Other schools similar to Sioux Falls apparently are giving percentage increases in pay that do not favor the newer teachers as much since a similar percentage increase will result in a bigger dollar increase for those teachers farther up the pay scale.

  4. Bret, while I dig the argument the school board offers—$207K is competitive market rate for superintendents, buying the new super a car is cheaper than reimbursing mileage—the optics of raising superintendent pay $54K/35% the same year that we’re trying to raise teacher pay 17% are bad.