Principals and assistant principals in Detroit Public Schools Community District could soon get their first raises in nearly a decade. Monday the district’s school board’s finance committee approved the proposed increase – a priority for Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.
“One of our many strategies in rebuilding the district is to recruit and retain the best talent, and salary pays a role in that,” Vitti said.
Vitti says after being hired as DPSCD superintendent last year, he made pay raises for district staff a priority. The most recent contract for Detroit public school teachers included a roughly seven percent raise, and Vitti says a raise was approved for support staff as well. He says he wanted to be sure teachers got raises before administrators.
The proposal would increases wages for DPSCD principals and assistant principals by three percent by the end of the school year this year. But first it needs to be approved by the full school board.
Vitti says the district’s revenue has grown since he’s been superintendent, thanks to staff cuts and increased student enrollment. He estimates the district is operating with a roughly $75 million budget surplus – though he says the condition of district-owned buildings are a concern.
According to Vitti, the added cost of higher wages is already accounted for in the budget – meaning it won’t be a strain on the district’s finances. Vitti says Finance Committee chair Sonya Mays had some concerns about the viability of raising wages over the long term. But he believes he allayed those fears by pointing out they’re already planned for in the budget.
“This isn’t necessarily new money that needs to be found. It’s already in the budget,” Vitti said. “And we waited until our other employees saw an increase in the process.”