Compensation and Incentives for School Leaders

1. Offer long-term school leader salary policies that are market sensitive and competitive.

2. Provide short-term inducements to address immediate school leader recruitment problems.


1. Offer long-term school leader salary policies that are market sensitive and competitive.

    Why It Is Important
    • Research suggests that inadequate compensation can be a deterrent to entering or remaining in the principalship; determine if this is the case in the district (or community school).
    • School leaders’ compensation can improve teacher recruitment, retention, and quality in the short and long term, ensuring that supply meets demand.

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    Network with LEAs and professional associations to determine a competitive salary point.
    • Consider that LEAs with fewer applicants for principal openings generally pay less than LEAs with more applicants.
    • Consider increasing principal salaries to compensate for deterrent factors, and make these principal placements as attractive as placements without such deterrent factors.

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    Examine the salaries of the highest paid teachers in the LEA and evaluate whether the difference between principal compensation and teacher compensation is sufficient to attract teachers with strong leadership potential to the principalship.Involve all stakeholders in any changes to pay policy.
    • Bear in mind the increased hours and stress of the principalship when considering if salary differentials are significant enough to incentivize teacher leaders to become administrators.
    • When calculating the salary differential between administrators and teachers within a school or district, consider the hours in a workday as well as the total number of days in the working year. (Principals typically have a longer school year than teachers.) This can be used to estimate the effective hourly rates for senior teachers and administrators for the sake of comparison.

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    Increase pay for certain groups of school leaders—this might include providing incentives for those at high-need schools or performance-based compensation.
    • Consider that although increasing school leaders’ pay may seem cost-prohibitive, high principal turnover rates are costly to schools and districts.
    • Use incentives strategically to ensure the equitable distribution of school leaders across schools and classrooms.
    • Emphasize that in hard-to-staff schools, a higher salary may attract more qualified and effective school leader candidates.
    • Use performance evaluation information to inform compensation decisions, aligning the two as required by HB 153 passed by the 129th Ohio General Assembly.

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    Ensure that resources are available to sustain the commitment to pay reform.

    Collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that resources are available for pay policies to be maintained long term.

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2. Provide short-term inducements to address immediate school leader recruitment problems.

    Why It Is Important

    Creative and targeted compensation and incentive strategies help attract, develop, and retain quality school leaders.

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    Consider signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement, relocation assistance, and nonfinancial incentives for school leaders
    • Identify hard-to-fill assignments, and consider which types of short-term incentives would make them more desirable.
    • Encourage and support continuing education opportunities (outside of standard professional development) for school leaders such as graduate coursework. Such opportunities may be an incentive to school leaders to remain in a school or district and also may improve their effectiveness.

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Last Modified: 5/8/2013 2:06:01 PM