By Marlena Hartz: CNJ Staff Writer
Some teachers in Clovis Municipal Schools are being paid more than principals because of a skewed salary system mandated by the state, according to Clovis Schools administration.
The highest paid teachers in the district get approximately $7 more an hour than elementary principals, according to a breakdown of salaries by number of hours worked in a year provided by Clovis Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm.
Some of those teachers are also being paid more than junior high principals, Seidenwurm said.
“Every teacher works a lot more hours than that, and every principal works a lot more hours than that, but this is a comparison of ‘apples to apples,’” Seidenwurm said.
When the New Mexico Legislature instituted a new salary system for teachers in 2004, legislators neglected to address administrative salaries, officials said.
The disparity should be addressed in the current legislative session, according to Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, member of an education committee.
“It is a problem,” Kernan said.
New Mexico’s three-tiered salary system rewards teachers for professional development. More pay is given to teachers who progress through license levels by demonstrating increased skill and knowledge in their profession.
By 2008, teachers in the highest level will be paid a minimum salary of $50,000.
Thirteen Clovis teachers are at the top of the system with a salary of $56,000, and even some teachers who are not at the top get paid more than some principals, Seidenwurm said.
Without a similar financial lure for principals, Clovis Schools Director of Personnel Jim McDaniel said recruitment is nearly impossible.
“It’s a constant issue,” McDaniel said. “You get what you pay for.
“There are headaches that a principal deals with that a teacher doesn’t,” he said.
Principals in the district act as instructional leaders, student discipliners, parent contacts and building supervisors, McDaniel said.