After concerns were raised about pay hikes for Calgary Board of Education staff, officials have announced top administrators will not be getting a pay hike.

That counts for roughly 10 members of the senior team, who will have their salaries frozen, but roughly 210 non-unionized and exempt employees are still eligible for salary increases or bonuses if their supervisor believes it is warranted.

CBE exempt employees include positions such as engineers, executive administrative assistants or advisors in human resources.

Board chair Pat Cochrane says even though money is tight they need to keep salaries competitive.

"Just because you don't have a union that protects your rights doesn't mean that we should just say you don't get anything while unionized members get to move up a grid," she said.

The "potential expenditure" was approved in May 2012 for the current fiscal year — which runs Sept. 1, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2013 — but was given a second look at a meeting on Tuesday.

Trustee Sheila Taylor voted against approving the pay raises.

"We're seeing all sorts of departments — health, advanced education — really tightening their belts and so I think it's a time for us ... to be taking a hard look at our budgets to ensure we're keeping dollars in classrooms where they belong," she said.

Concerns raised

Earlier Friday, critics questioned pay raises for CBE administrators because trustees made the decision at an in-camera meeting and no details were available as to how many people will get pay hikes or how much.  

The Alberta Teachers' Association local president Frank Bruseker said the timing was bad, as the CBE rejected the proposed provincewide agreement for teachers on Wednesday.

CBE chair Pat Cochrane said the provincial teacher agreement was not a good deal for students and it reduced the flexibility of school boards across the province.

"To do this is in the same meeting where, on one hand they turn down … the proposed agreement for teachers, and then on the other hand say, 'And now we’re going to turn around and provide more money for senior staff,'" he said.

"That’s the kind of thing, the optics are just all wrong. You know, leadership is leadership."

Bruseker said it was inappropriate for board trustees to make decisions about administration pay behind closed doors, while teacher pay negotiations have been very open to the public.