Local school administrators make the most money

Local school administrators make the most money

More than 460 Pawtucket educators in $100,000 club

PAWTUCKET - The biggest cost-driver for local education is salaries and benefits, and nowhere are those costs higher than within the ranks of Pawtucket's school administrators.

Approximately 460 of the Pawtucket School Department's 1,000 employees now earn at least $100,000 in combined annual salary and benefits, according to spreadsheets provided to The Breeze provided by the Pawtucket School Department.

Of those, 39 administrators are earning $125,000 or more. Twenty of the 39 are earning $140,000 or more.

Read the salary list here.

Supt. Deborah Cylke, whose contract was extended two years ago to June 30 of 2014, leads the way, earning $159,000 in base salary and another $51,247 in benefits, for a "total cost" to the department of $210,246.

Trailing behind Cylke and rounding out the top five are Patricia DiCenzo, administrative supervisor, at a total cost of $165,787, Tolman High School Principal Christopher Savastano, at $161,458, Kathleen Suriani, administrative supervisor, at $155,523, and Thomas Conlon, school business administrator, at $155,063.

The cost of salaries and benefits in Pawtucket schools is now exceeding $86 million for a system charged with educating 8,733 students at 16 schools during the 2012-2013 school year.

Three school employment contracts, one for city teachers, a second for administrators and a third for non-professional staff, are all expiring this summer.

The Pawtucket School Committee is set to vote on a new contract with Council 94's Local 1352 representing non-professional workers at its meeting Wednesday night. They'll also get legal advice on ongoing negotiations with the Pawtucket Teachers Alliance and Pawtucket Administrators Association, according to the agenda.

Like many other districts, salaries and benefits remain an overwhelming cost driver for a Pawtucket school system that has traditionally struggled to find the money to maintain its buildings and buy textbooks.

Total base salaries for the 2012-2013 school year, according to documents provided in response to a public information request, show the total figure for just base salaries is $58,533,654.

But with benefits like medical, dental, life insurance and pension contributions, along with bumps for some school staff rewarding them for having extra educational degrees, the total cost for all employees has ballooned to $86,398,669.

Supt. Deborah Cylke explained that a general "rule of thumb" for school departments is that 83 percent to 87 percent of the budget is taken up by salaries and benefits. So for a $100 million budget, salaries and benefits should be in the neighborhood of $83 to $87 million, she said.

The local taxpayer contribution to the Pawtucket School Department budget is just $29.6 million on a $102 million school budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. The city contribution was the same in the 2012-2013 year, though the overall school budget was about $4 million less, or $98.8 million.

Because of Pawtucket's financial status and other factors, the city receives the majority of its funding through state and federal sources.