Burbank Unified’s top leader received a 7.8% raise Thursday with three school board members supporting her salary hike and two voting against it.
Earlier in the meeting, the school board approved a 3% retroactive salary increase for Burbank teachers, which is the first salary increase the district has issued since 2007. The board’s unanimous approval ignited applause from the audience.
Supt. Jan Britz originally brought a $15,000-raise proposal to the table in January, but pulled the item from the agenda because the district’s classified union and teacher’s union were still in salary negotiations.
Her proposal — to raise her annual salary from $190,000 to $205,000 — returned to the board about four hours and 45 minutes into a nearly six-hour-long school board meeting. A separate benefit increase upped her monthly automobile allowance from $400 to $500.
As part of the teachers’ salary deal, they will receive another 1% bump in July.
The district’s classified employees — including instructional assistants and maintenance staff — are still in salary negotiations. The district’s administrators, a non-union group partly made up of school principals, have not yet had a raise proposal come before the board.
Because administrators have not received raises, school board members Larry Applebaum and Roberta Reynolds voted against giving Britz a salary hike.
“It sends the message that the superintendent position is more important than any other positions in this district,” he said. “There needs to be fairness, and this contract, in my opinion, does not represent that.”
He added that his voting against a raise for Britz was not related to her job performance.
“It has nothing to do with any specific action that Dr. Britz has or hasn’t done with regards to any of her performance of her duties… I think it has everything to do with what’s fair, and reasonable and equitable,” he said.
Reynolds said she “really struggled” with Britz’s proposal.
“I just cannot support doing this without the context of having addressed our other administrators, and our other bargaining unit but, in particular, our administrators. I really tried to come to terms with this, and I just can’t do it.”
School board President Dave Kemp along with members Ted Bunch and Charlene Tabet, supported the proposal.
“It’s just time to move forward with this, and people will have to understand that, you know, it wasn’t an affront to any other group. It just — it’s February, almost March. Everybody needs to come into agreement and move forward,” Tabet said.
“To single out one person and say, let’s not deal with that contract till everybody settles — it could be forever,” Kemp said, adding that the board shouldn’t hold up the process even though a single bargaining unit — the classified employees — has not yet negotiated a salary agreement.
Applebaum agreed with Kemp then, but said he “might have felt very differently” had the administrators’ salary proposals already come before the board.
Following Thursday’s meeting, Britz said in an email through Burbank Unified spokeswoman Kimberley Clark that her contract approval was long overdue, and that she would continue to work with the classified employees and administrators for a fair compensation package.
“We need to get this done as soon as possible,” she said.
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.