Not sure how many picked up on this across the province as they localized the annual release of the public sector salary disclosure on Wednesday, March 31. I would suspect, based on my own reporting and local area, that school boards led the way when it comes to the number of individuals added to the $100K club in 2009. Locally, school board lists in my district went from about 100 people to almost 400 as every elementary school principal was added to the list, along with virtually all secondary vice-principals. Some elementary school vice-principals made it onto the list, depending on their seniority and when they were posted to the position. High school principals all made the list in 2009 (for 2008 salaries and benefits).
This shouldn't be shocking, or a surprise. The moment provincial discussion tables were settled and the boards started finalizing agreements with their principals, you could have pinpointed March 31, 2010 as the date all those positions would crack the six-figure disclosure list for the first time. It was predictable and has come into play exactly as expected. Last year, I posted here noting that (though I'm sure we'll all forget) by the end of the current contract terms, those teachers at the top of the grid when the contract was ratified will all crack the $100K sunshine list club.
No doubt, these new additions will make it over to Sunshine on Schools, allowing us all to make a correlation where one doesn't or shouldn't necessarily exist. Not a dig against SQE-- it is the only group doing that kind of disclosure work.
This won't quell those who simply get angry at the numbers of people making six figures on the public dime, but I would suggest a few thoughts.
First, these were duly negotiated and settled contracts. My local MPP suggests the disclosure act was supposed to keep pressure on public sector employers to keep the lists from growing (that obviously hasn't happened). Other than the fact of having an ever-growing list, there doesn't seem to be much public interest in slashing into these salaries and benefits-- if there was, then the list wouldn't still be growing after 14 years.
Second, I look at the qualifications of a principal. Yes, I know, there are still plenty of them out there who didn't have these prerequisites in place when they were hired to these positions, but let's look at what's needed today to even qualify for the interview.
First, the principals' qualification program. To even be accepted, the candidate needs at least five years' experience and to be qualified to teach in three of the four K-12 divisions -- a step that required additional qualification training beyond teachers' college. A masters in education must be complete or underway (there's some equivalent experience equivalency there, but it's likely most do the M.Ed). Boards have been known to hire principals or vice-principals on an acting basis while they complete these requirements. My district board requires an M.Ed within five years of posting to a vice-principal or principal position. A reminder for many, this M.Ed is the third degree they've achieved, after an initial honours degree and B.Ed. While there is no shortage of available teachers to fill available teaching positions, there have at times been shortages of teachers qualified and able to be posted to vice-principal or principal positions.
Then I look at their responsibilities. Student and teacher management, scheduling, discipline, being effective instructional leaders, managing school effectiveness and improvement planning, all the items relating to school safety and managing a school site.
Then I ask: is that worth $100K? Is it reasonable to expect someone with that educational background and skillset could or should earn an equivalent wage in the private sector?
Depending on where you fall on those two questions, you'll then have your answer on how to look upon this year's sunshine list.