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Schools, police dominate Newton's top 100 salary list

Posted December 10, 2008 02:02 PM

By Brian Benson
Globe Correspondent

School administrators and police officers dominated the list of Newton's top 100 most highly compensated employees last year, according to a Globe analysis of city records.

The highest-paid city employee was the school district's superintendent, Jeffrey Young, who earned $239,486, and who is widely known as being near the top of the pay range for his colleagues across the region. But others among the top 100 earners in Newton may be a bit more surprising: 20 principals, two teachers, and five deputy or assistant school superintendents.

In all, 44 of the 100 worked for the school district, based on figures for the 2007 calendar year, the most recent available from the city.

The Police Department had the next largest number, with 40 names on the list. Most received overtime and detail pay that pushed them into the highest earners among the city's roughly 3,500 full- and part-time employees.

Mayor David Cohen did not make the list, after being paid $97,500 last year, according to the records provided to the Globe. He had sought a $27,500 raise in May, but abandoned the effort after a political outcry. All of the top 100 earners made more than $100,000, based on salary, overtime, detail pay, and other compensation.

The head of the teachers union, which will begin negotiations on a new contract next year, said the school district employees' salaries were in line with other professions.

"I'm glad to know that people in education are earning a full professional salary that compares with some other industries," said Cheryl Turgel, president of the Newton Teachers Association. "People in education, as far as I'm concerned, are doing the most important work in this country."

Turgel said she would like to see more teachers in the top 100. But she noted that principals and superintendents earn their salaries because of the high levels of stress and responsibility they face every day.

"I don't think there's a principal across the state that shouldn't make more than $100,000," she said.

Turgel said she is "not upset" by Young's salary, noting it needs to be that high to be competitive with other states and districts.

"Do we want to have a superintendent that's constantly leaving to better his financial status by going to another state, or do we want to have someone who's dedicated to our city and students?" she said.

For more information, go to boston.com/newton.

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