Salary increases for administrative titles at school districts continue to be lower than those of their private-sector counterparts, according to American School & University's 13th Compensation Survey. In 1997, national average salary increases for school administrators dropped to 3.4% from 3.7% last year; private-sector-professional raises averaged 4.3%.

In awarding pay raises, the primary determinants for increases at school districts were: budget decision (30.3%), collective bargaining results (25.7%), competitive practices (13.8%), cost-of-living increase (8.2%) and other factors (22.0%).

Information for AS&U's report was compiled from an in-depth survey mailed to 1,000 superintendents. Questions explored salary and benefits practices for seven key management positions, with full-time teacher used to gauge compensation relationships among the administrative titles. Usable returns were received from 13% of possible respondents, and represent school districts with the following enrollment sizes: *Under 1,000: 20.5% *1,000-1,499: 15.7% *1,500-2,499: 22.0% *2,500-4,999: 18.1% *5,000 or more: 23.7%

The eight school positions surveyed include: *Superintendent. *Deputy/Associate Superintendent. *Chief Business Officer. *Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. *Director of Purchasing. *Director of Security/Safety. *Director of Transportation. *Full-time Teacher.

In comparing salaries, keep in mind that such factors as level of expertise, experience and tenure, supply and demand for a specific job, the district's ability to pay, and geographic salary differences will influence the final results. For the title of Director of Security/Safety, a relatively small number of responses were received, which may influence the figures reported for this position. This most likely is due to the fact that many school districts do not have a person functioning in this position, but have the duties fall under other administrative titles.

Bonuses and perquisites In addition to typical compensation, a number of school districts have implemented bonus programs. Although not widely practiced, 4.7% of school districts have a bonus program in place. This number is up from the 3.4% of institutions reporting bonuses last year. Bonuses most often were based on a combination of overall district/system performance and individual administrator performance. When asked if they were contemplating implementing a bonus program in the near future, 5.1% of districts responded that they were.

School administrators enjoy a number of perquisites, including pension distributions; full- and partial-paid medical/hospital, dental and life-insurance programs; and other benefits. Among the most popular include professional development, professional association membership, the ability to make outside income and an annual physical examination.