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Inconsistencies in school salaries

By Gerald Totten
Posted Monday, April 9, 2007

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Chatham County, NC - The 29 March edition of the Chatham News and Record published a piece concerning "extra" supplements certain school employees receive. Dr. Ann Hart, Superintendent, is quoted as saying "we want to be transparent about it" referring to the additional supplement from local funds. That is an interesting comment since my discovery of that xtra local supplement last spring to date she has refused to post salaries when such information is in the public realm.

One has to insist upon getting the "transparent" information as a matter of public record. I am on record as saying that Xtra Local Supplement (XL Supplement) is unfair. Data provided by the school's central office demonstrates that unfairness. From the table provided and printed, school 4 (Moncure) with 200 students has a new principal. He is being paid $100 annually less than another K-8 principal ( North Chatham) with 746 students and 13 years experience. School 6 (Perry Harrison) has 659 students, a principal with less than one year experience being paid $87,644.

The overall personnel assignment and salary administration programs in place clearly show favoritism to key employees with only one or less than one year experience being favored.

Cases in point: The Assistant Principal of Bonlee with 407 students is being paid $48,288 per year while the Assistant Principal of Perry Harrison with 250 more students is being paid $39,862. Years in position are similar. Silk Hope's Assistant Principal is working with 100 more students, is being paid $2,500 less and has four more years' experience in position.

Major discrepancies are also identified among high school Assistant Principals. Every one of them have been in position less than one year. Salaries and (students) are: Chatham Central $67,664 (489), Jordan-Matthews $62,236 (756) and Northwood has one at $51,736 for 994 students and the other assistant at $53,680. Sage Academy is a case in its own, 61 students and a principal salary of $76,832.

Is there any question about the unfairness considering student responsibilities and time in position? The State Department of Public Instruction establishes a range of salaries according to the interviews quoted in the article. It certainly should have more wisdom than our local administrators in recommending salaries it would seem to me. Instead, our administrators arrive at a salary then there is a negotiation with the potential employee. No one should be faulted for trying to receive as much pay as possible but there has to be a control. Right now, there isn't one.

What is left out of the article is the salaries being paid to our teachers to accommodate that XL supplement and the high salaries being paid to administrators, also known as Dr. Hart's "cabinet". Also impacting on the unfairness could be the churning of employees last year with over half of our principals moving, all of the assistant principals and over 100 teachers leaving. The vice chair of the Board of Education opines these supplements aid in retaining exceptional workers. If that is true, why did so many leave? The jury is out on that comment and may never return because of the failure of that plan!

Gerald Totten is a member of the Chatham County School Board. He was elected in 2006.

 
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