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Flagrant or fair?

No sooner had the state Board of Higher Education announced a $20,000 raise for Southern Oregon University President Mary Cullinan — and similar increases for five of her colleagues — than the Medford School District weighed in with pay increases for 36 administrators, pushing salaries for 32 of them over $90,000 a year.

It seems the district received $1.2 million more than expected from the state because enrollment increased. So the district promptly spent a good chunk of it on a pay raise for its highest-paid employees.

While the administrators took an 8 percent pay cut last year, along with all district employees, and will pay more for their health insurance or take a higher deductible, the pay increases are more than most private-sector workers have seen in recent years or are likely to see anytime soon, given the glacial pace of the economic recovery.

The cost of the administrators' raises and stipends — $219,307 — doesn't include raises for other managers and confidential staff not covered by union contracts.

Superintendent Phil Long says the savings from the health insurance changes will offset the raises so the effect on the district's budget will be "relatively flat." But in a tough economy, those making $90,000 or more can afford to tread water better than those at the bottom of the pay scale.

Is this financially irresponsible, or a gesture of fairness to employees who sacrificed in past years? You be the judge.

Here is the list of the 2012-13 salaries for the 36 administrators, after the pay increases:

Superintendent $136,382 (will go to $145,247 if the School Board approves)

Director, secondary education $118,153

Director, elementary education $118,153

Director, human resources $119,218

Facilities manager $116,976

Chief financial officer $115,272

South Medford principal $110,360

McLoughlin principal $104,485

Curriculum supervisor $101,435

Special education supervisor $101,435

North Medford principal $100,302

Griffin Creek principal $98,618

Hoover principal $98,618

Kennedy principal $98,618

Jackson principal $98,618

NMHS assistant principal $97,445

Hedrick principal $96,034

Lone Pine principal $95,565

Oak Grove principal $95,565

Roosevelt principal $95,565

Washington principal $95,565

Howard principal $95,565

Jacksonville principal $95,565

Special programs supervisor $94,529

SMHS assistant principal $94,394

SMHS assistant principal $94,394

NMHS assistant principal $94,394

Ruch principal $94,394

Central principal $91,163

McLoughlin assistant principal $90,874

Wilson principal $90,163

Abe Lincoln principal $90,163

Jefferson principal $88,036

NMHS assistant principal $87,312

SMHS asstistant principal $87,312

Hedrick assistant principal $83,706