Covell stated that on June 16, 2015, the Board approved a 4% increase in compensation for all of the leadership positions effective July 1, 2015 based on performance and maintaining internal salary parity for all of the positions covered by this request. On November 15, 2016, the Board approved a methodology for compensation adjustments effective July 1, 2016 based on performance evaluations for SY 2015-2016. The compensation adjustments were effective July 1, 2016 and were based on performance and linked to the consumer price index for Hawaii for Fiscal Year 2015-2016. Executives who attained an “exceptional” rating received a 4.5% increase; executives who “exceeded expectations” received a 3.4% increase; and executives who “fully met expectations” received a 2.4% increase. On June 20, 2017, the Board approved continuing the methodology for compensation adjustments tied to performance ratings and the Hawaii consumer price index for SY 2016-2017. Executives who attained an “exceptional” received a 3.75% increase; executives who “exceeded expectations” received a 3.0% increase; and executives who “fully met expectations” received a 2.0% increase. The Board also requested that the Department review and, if needed, update the methodology for future leadership compensation adjustments in support of the recommendation. Covell noted that the total cost for the Department’s current request is $83,930 and the Department factored this cost into projected salary increases for the Department’s budget.
Committee Member Bruce Voss stated that he is in support of the Department’s work and the studies that the Department reviewed. Committee Member Voss detailed increases for exceptional-level performance and noted that the Department provides a 3.5% increase. He asked if 3.5% is sufficient to award truly exceptional performance and individuals who have gone above and beyond.
Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent, stated that when she first took her position a year ago, she stated that the Department would review methodology and compensation over the next two to three years. She detailed that the Department wants to provide increases that are palatable for the public to understand. She noted that increases are tied not only to consumer price index adjustments, but also to actual performance expectations. Kishimoto detailed that when she first took her position, due to timing, she developed very specific performance expectations tied to a three-year implementation plan. This provided the Department with a year to review alignment between those categories and new Board priorities. The Department updated its evaluation and performance expectations for this year. It is tying performance expectation gains with clear performance areas that it could align with how it evaluates throughout the entirety of the system based on Board goals, the Strategic Plan, and academic plans. Kishimoto noted that as the Department has completed this alignment, it thought that it had a fair request because it allows for recognition while aligning with what is competitive nationally and provides the Department with a good salary range it can use to fill vacancies. Kishimoto stated that the Department would continue to review compensation and performance-based pay. She noted that there is currently a direct alignment between Board goals and the Superintendent’s goals and the current request is a fair interim step.
Committee Member Voss stated that he understands the Department’s need to be publicly palatable. He stated that he is concerned and noted that the Department has the ability to reward individuals who have worked hard and produced good results with the kind of compensation that they deserve. He emphasized the importance of the Department retaining good employees in this labor market. Kishimoto stated she could stand behind the Department’s current request. She highlighted that the Department has clear performance expectations that it could tie with performance rates and justify.
Committee Member Nolan Kawano asked how the Department determined its new ranges. Covell explained that the upper range is connected to consumer price index increases. She detailed that the Department shifted its base salary based on a study of principal salaries. She noted that this study reviewed the median principal salary and how to attract individuals to complex area positions. She stated that in some instances, principals’ salaries would decrease if they were to become a CAS. Covell explained that the Department would not be able to attract individuals if it left base salary ranges at the lower level. She detailed that the Department wanted to keep the base range competitive in order to attract high-performing principals and others.
Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that the Board adopted a policy a number of years ago that indicates that if a principal takes a CAS position, they retain the higher salary. Covell stated that that particular policy is no longer in existence because it was replaced by a policy which authorizes the Board to approve salaries which do not exceed the Superintendent’s salary. Covell explained that if the Department selected a principal for a CAS position, the new policy allows the Department to propose a salary that is higher than their principal position.
Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that the Board approves salaries and emphasized that he is in support of principals receiving higher salaries if they move to higher-level positions. He stated that some principals receive higher salaries due to bargaining units. Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that he does not believe that principals are not applying for CAS positions due to salaries. He noted that in some instances, principals are comfortable in their position and feel connected to the community. Nonetheless, the Committee would like high-performing principals to challenge themselves and apply for CAS positions. Committee Chairperson De Lima reiterated that the Board would approve higher salaries for principals if they take on higher positions. The Board would not expect principals to receive lower salaries. Covell stated that this has been the Department’s practice, but the average salary for principals is $130,000 per year. She commented that the Department would be unable to be competitive if it compensates principals lower than the average. Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that if the Department wants individuals to take on increasing responsibilities, then there needs to be more recognition. He noted that with more responsibility comes financial recognition.
Committee Vice Chairperson Dwight Takeno commented on salaries for Assistant Superintendents and asked if the Department’s proposed range addresses equity and compression. Covell stated that the range provides the Department with internal equity because individuals access from different starting levels. She detailed that CAS salaries are not all equal because of where they come in. She stated that the Department is going to have to review compensation and methodology every year to ensure that it stays within external market factors and to ensure that internal equity remains consistent.
Committee Vice Chairperson Takeno asked if the Department would provide methodology on how the Office of Talent Management would review process to address equity and compression concerns. Covell stated that initially, the Department was going to ask the Committee for a three-year approval methodology. She stated that the Department determined that it is best to review and come back to the Committee annually for reasons related to equity and compression. Covell detailed that the Department needs to review market factors and performance evaluations every year as well as internal and external equity.
Committee Vice Chairperson Takeno emphasized the importance of the Department reviewing these areas in order to attract and retain employees. He stated that he wants to ensure that the Department is compensating employees equitably for the duties and responsibilities that they are performing. He stated that he understands that employees come in at different salaries initially, but noted that this might cause inequity in and of itself. He asked if the Department would review processes for employees in these positions. Covell detailed previous market increases and consumer price indexes and noted that equity is embedded in the Department’s methodology, but the Department would continue to review equity moving forward.
Committee Chairperson De Lima asked for the total cost. Covell stated that the total cost is conservative at $83,930.
ACTION: Motion to adopt the Department of Education’s methodology for compensation adjustments for Department of Education leadership employees, including the Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, and Complex Area Superintendents, as described in the Department’s memorandum dated September 20, 2018 (Payne/Cox). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
V. Executive Session
B. Committee Action on compensation adjustments as related to individual evaluations of Department of Education leadership employees (Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, and Complex Area Superintendents)
Committee Chairperson De Lima adjourned the meeting at 9:48 a.m.