What to Know About Sharing Salary Information

Vol. 16 No. 2

head eletter vol16 no2 salary

The School Head is privy to a great deal of private information, including salaries for the entire administration, faculty, and staff. From time to time, you may find that various Board Members inquire about salaries of certain individuals.

As the School Head, you answer to the Board and are the Board's sole employee. It can be difficult to withhold information from a Board member. If there isn’t a clear reason why this person needs to know individual salary information, it can put you in a tough position.

Instead, provide a budget summary to answer this request. This would include total revenue figures (such as gross tuition, all annual fundraising, and interest/endowment income) and total expense figures (for example, all compensation and occupancy costs as well as administration, insurance, and technology expenses).

Providing more specific information regarding salaries can be problematic. There are certainly exceptions. But there is rarely a need to share individual salary information beyond the Head, Business Manager, and possibly the individual’s direct supervisor.

This includes the Board. If salaries are reported in a way that one is able to discern what a certain individual makes, anonymity is lost.

If a Board member, parent, or donor would like to learn more about salaries and the school’s overall budget, invite them to your office and share the summary information as noted above. Explain that individual salaries and benefits are never revealed, and the Business Manager and you are the only administrators who know what each employee makes.

This type of personalized attention can help ease the requestor's concerns and diffuse any emotion related to his or her request. It also provides appropriate transparency, while at the same time retaining necessary confidentiality and proper governance standards. The Board should also have access to the school's strategic plan/strategic financial plan.

It’s your responsibility as the School Head to set the tone when these types of requests come in—protect the privacy of your administrators, faculty, and staff.

ISM’s research has found that the quality of a school’s executive leader helps to predict a school’s enrollment demand. Looking to bolster your own leadership skills? Join our upcoming webinar, Actions that Can Make You a Better Leader, on Dec. 6 at 3 PM ET. Learn more here.

Additional ISM Resources:
The Source for School Heads Vol. 15 No. 4 Retaining Millennials
The Source for Business Managers Vol. 14 No. 6 Providing Financial Information to Parents

Additional Resources for ISM Members:
I&P Vol. 31 No. 1 Your Faculty Culture and the Pay-for-Performance Approach

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