In a year in which the Tooele County School Board handed out only half of scheduled salary step increases to teachers and raised property taxes by 9.1 percent, it also chose to bump up Superintendent Terry Linares’ salary by 20.4 percent.
Linares’ annual salary was raised from $106,759 to $128,500 when her contract was renewed for two years in June. In a letter emailed to all district employees this morning in response to recent inquiries, Scott Bryan, Tooele County School Board president, outlined the rationale for the raise.
“The increase was in part recognition for the superintendent’s leadership over the prior years and in part strategically positioning the district to offer a more competitive salary in alignment with other superintendents throughout the state,” wrote Bryan. “We also recognize that we will eventually hire a new superintendent and we want to attract the top talent for this critical position through a competitive compensation package.”
Linares has not received a raise in the four years since she became superintendent, according to Bryan.
“The board of education unilaterally offered the superintendent an increase and unanimously approved such,” Bryan wrote. “The increase in the contractual agreement has put Superintendent Linares in an uncomfortable position with employees throughout the district. As a board of education, all employees need to know that the superintendent did not request an increase.”
Linares said she voluntarily reduced her own salary by $1,500.
“The board raised my salary to $130,000, but I took the same three days of no pay as everybody else, so my salary is $128,500,” said Linares.
Provo School District, which enrolls nearly the same number of students as Tooele County School District, pays its superintendent $132,139, and the superintendent of Box Elder schools, also similar in size to Tooele, makes $126,029, according to UtahsRight.com, a website that tracks public salaries in the state.
“I really don’t think it is fair that we have an employee that puts it as many hours as our superintendent does for what she is paid and then when we go to replace her we offer the next guy a big raise,” said Bryan.