In today's Boston Globe - Article by Brenda Buoute and Top 50 Ssalaries @ MVRCS
Mystic Valley teacher pay below state average; staff youth, experience cited - The Boston Globe
Top 50 Salaries at MVRCS - The Boston Globe
Mystic Valley lags state pay norm
Director says pay still competitive
By Brenda J. Buote Globe Correspondent / October 24, 2010
At Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, only three employees earned six-figure salaries last year, and most staff members earned less than half of school director Joseph McCleary’s $166,332 paycheck, according to records released to the Globe.
The average salary for teachers who were among the top 50 earners in 2009 was $50,853, well below the statewide average of $64,166 earned by public school teachers for the 2007-2008 school year, the last year for which Massachusetts figures are available.
Mystic Valley administrators topped the pay list, including assistant director Chris Finn, who earned $113,001 in 2009, and business manager Richard Veilleux, $106,650. McCleary’s 2009 earnings included compensation for moving from Maryland in 2007 to lead the charter school, which has about 1,400 students from Malden, Medford, Melrose, Everett, Stoneham, and Wakefield.
Others in the top 50 earners were two relatives of Malden City Councilor Neil Kinnon, who serves as chairman of the school’s board of trustees, an unpaid position. Neil Kinnon’s brother Greg earned $53,656 in 2009 for his work as facilities manager and nurse. Kathy Kinnon, Neil Kinnon’s sister-in-law, earned $84,658 as special education director, an increase of about 9 percent over 2008, when she earned $77,187.
School officials said Kathy Kinnon’s salary for 2009 included a $1,000 “stay bonus,’’ similar to the pay raises mandated by general public schools in their stepladder approach to determining salaries; a one-time salary increase to ensure Kinnon’s compensation remained competitive with the charter school’s sending districts; and a $3,000 stipend for serving as administrative secretary to the school’s swim team.
As a matter of policy, the school director from time to time approves mar ket adjustments to staff salaries to ensure the charter school remains competitive. The school also pays staff stay bonuses and stipends for coaching or overseeing other extracurricular activities, Veilleux said.
The Globe’s review of Mystic Valley’s records for 2008 and 2009 indicated Mystic Valley’s teacher pay scale appears to be lower than many public school teacher salaries in the state. Of the 328 Massachusetts school districts surveyed in fiscal 2008, only 12 paid their teachers an average salary that was lower than the average salary Mystic Valley paid its top-earning teachers in 2009. Malden’s public school system — not including the charter school — ranked 14th in the statewide report, with an average teacher salary of $73,547.
Mystic Valley’s highest-paid teachers in 2009 were Jeffrey Zajac, chairman of the math department, who earned $82,383, and Arlene Burke, $74,600, a seventh-grade reading teacher who has been with the charter school since its inception.
Neil Kinnon said teacher salaries at Mystic Valley are comparable with those earned by Malden teachers with similar experience. On average, the highest paid teachers at Mystic Valley had about six years of experience and earned $50,853 in 2009. In contrast, Malden teachers who have six years of experience and a bachelor’s degree earned $47,479; those with a master’s degree and the same level of experience earn $53,746.
“Most of our teachers are making at or above what they would make in Malden, in the schools they could work in,’’ said Kinnon, noting that teachers at the Salemwood and Ferryway schools earn larger salaries because those schools provide extended day instruction.
Kinnon said the charter school does not pay using the same system as the unionized public school district. Instead, the charter school pays its teachers on a market-based system.
“So those teachers who are in high demand will be paid more,’’ he said. “We are never going to pay a gym teacher the same as a math or science teacher.’’
The charter school was founded 12 years ago with 19 teachers; today, there are about 100 on the payroll. Over the years, the board of trustees has made significant adjustments to its salary structure in order to remain competitive, said Kinnon, a founding member of the school. As a result, the charter school has been able to attract and retain first-rate teachers, he said.
Mystic Valley’s MCAS scores are among the best in the state, and the school has a waiting list of more than 2,000 students; admission is by lottery. School officials attribute its success, in part, to its extended instruction period: Classes run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 200 days a year.
Still, the school has not escaped criticism. Kinnon acknowledged that Mystic Valley has at times come under fire because there has been little turnover on the board of trustees. The state Department of Education has repeatedly questioned the trustees’ long tenure.
“Under state law, [the board of trustees] has three jobs — to remain true to the charter, to ensure the academic success of our students, and to maintain the school’s financial and operational viability,’’ said Kinnon. “The quickest way to be not true to the charter is to not have continuity. Since superintendents come and go, where do you get continuity? You’re able to get that through a long-serving board that has full understanding of the charter. This is what I have told the DOE every year they’ve come in and questioned it.’’
In recent months, the school has also come under fire for its $10.1 million real estate portfolio, capped by the April purchase of a vacant car lot in Malden. Mystic Valley paid $4.4 million in cash for the property, where it plans to build an athletic complex, a move that prompted some local taxpayers to raise questions about the school’s finances. Other properties the school owns include three houses, two school buildings, and a fire station leased to the city.
“As a charter school, we can’t go to a tax base or a community and ask for funding for our facilities,’’ said Veilleux, noting that charter schools are barred from receiving money from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which funds public school construction projects.
Instead, Mystic gets a facilities fee from the state; it was $893 per student for the 2009-2010 school year. One of three base categories paid to charter schools by the state, the fees added up to $1,206,350, in addition to $12,410,472 in student tuition and $210,339 for transportation.
“We try to utilize those [facilities] funds to address our facility’s needs for today and as we continue to expand our school,’’ Veilleux said.
“We are doing our best to be competitive [with salaries], but we’re going to naturally have higher attrition because the funding for charter schools is inequitable,’’ Kinnon said. “So, when people question what we’re doing, when they talk about inequity in funding, I tell them ‘There is only one inequity in funding [for public education], and it’s on our side.’ ’’
Brenda J. Buote may be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
Top 50 Salaries - http://www.boston.com/yourtown/malden/news/MysticValleyRegionalCharterSchoolTop50Salaries/
Top 50 salaries at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden
The Globe’s review of Mystic Valley’s records for 2008 and 2009 indicated Mystic Valley’s teacher pay scale appears to be among the lowest in the state. Of the 328 Massachusetts school districts surveyed in fiscal 2008, only 12 paid their teachers an average salary that was lower than the average salary Mystic Valley paid its top-earning teachers in 2009. Malden’s public school system — not including the charter school — ranked 14th in the statewide report, with an average teacher salary of $73,547.
Last▴ First Position Years at MV 2009 total 2008 total
McCleary Joseph School director 4 $166,332 $148,702
Finn Chris Assistant director-Lower School 13 $113,001 $113,287
Veilleux Richard Business Manager 5 $106,650 $106,072
Benzie George Assistant director - High School 2 $98,318 $38,500*
Bradford Gordon Humanities Dept. chair/IB director 8 $87,438 $88,519
Kinnon Kathy Special Education director 12 $84,658 $77,187
McKinnon Gina Professional Development coordinator 13 $83,033 $83,779
Chiccuarelli Anthony Human resources director 6 $82,960 $84,540
Zajac Jeffrey Math Dept. chair 5 $82,383 $84,625
Burke Arleen Reading teacher 13 $74,600 $83,392
Bradford Maureen High School Librarian 8 $69,115 $70,821
D'Angelo Rick IT Supervisor 6 $68,877 $70,172
Swible-Keane Catherine Science Dept. chair 12 $68,633 $73,447
Dan Alex English Dept. chair 8 $66,215 $63,237
Brown Carlos World Language Dept. chair 6 $60,900 $57,560
Mullen Jennifer Professional Development Coordiantor 12 $60,214 $57,808
Courtney Judith Elementary teacher 13 $58,738 $66,785
Guerriero Diane Elementary teacher 13 $56,263 $65,308
Wood Dawn High School Special Education teacher 7 $56,257 $52,691
Gregory Nicole Elementary teacher 8 $55,814 $60,299
Dado Roy Assistant director 3 $54,732 $98,304
Connolly Peter Athletic director 2 $53,682 $28,500*
Duvert Ingrid Special Education teacher 9 $53,037 $55,588
Gately Marty Public Relations 2 $52,729 $50,500
Kinnon Greg Facilities Manager/Nurse 6 $51,791 $53,656
Nair Asha High School Math teacher 5 $51,626 $52,321
Tapia Stephanie Elementary Special Education teacher 8 $51,450 $51,421**
Walton Matthew 7th & 8th Grade history teacher 6 $51,268 $53,456
Ferrara Danielle Office manager 3 $51,166 $50,592
Bauer Chris High School physical education teacher 5 $50,501 $50,245
Gover Melissa Elementary teacher 7 $49,863 $45,585
Upton Dawn Elementary Special Education teacher 10 $49,602 $55,945
Hawes Elizabeth High School World Language teacher 5 $49,444 $51,129
Mahoney Carol High School science teacher 8 $49,432 $52,045
Cappadona Stephanie College advisor 2 $49,310 $26,000*
Sylvester Lynann 7th & 8th Grade ELA teacher 4 $49,142 $50,756
Giles Chris Elementary teacher 6 $48,625 $49,941
Shoutis Samuel High School math teacher 2 $48,075 $19,545*
Turilli Deirdre High School World Language teacher 7 $47,679 $48,700
Fields Matthew High School science teacher 2 $47,031 $21,123*
Hayes-Sturgeon Courtney High School art teacher 2 $46,638 $21,579*
Rybarczyk Brad 7th & 8th grade science teacher 6 $46,380 $21,579
Baglio John Elementary teacher 12 $46,351 $21,579
Gilliam Sarah Elementary teacher 4 $45,746 $21,579
Kravitz Robert Facilities supervisor 3 $45,724 $21,579
Reed Michael High School history teacher 2 $45,507 $21,579
Cahill Katherine Elementary teacher 3 $45,431 $21,579
Libby-O'Connor Deanna Elementary Special Education teacher 2 $45,403 $21,579*
Ashton Sonja Elementary teacher 6 $45,370 $21,579
Murphy Joanne High School Spanish teacher 4 $45,051 $21,579
*worked partial year in 2008
**median teacher salary
SOURCE: Mystic Valley Regional Charter School
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