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Commissioners question letter sent by interim superintendent

January 18, 2002

Commissioners question letter sent by interim superintendent



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Two members of the Washington County Board of Commissioners Thursday questioned the wisdom of a comparison the interim schools superintendent made between teachers' and administrators' salaries, while some Board of Education members defended it.

In a Jan. 9 letter to the commissioners, Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan and School Board President Edward Forrest said some teachers make more per day than administrators, if one takes into consideration that teachers work fewer days in a year than administrators.

Teachers Association President Claude Sasse called the comparison "misleading" and said the letter includes inaccurate numbers. Besides, he said, no teachers work year-round.

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Morgan said Wednesday that the numbers she used in her comparison were flawed because she did not realize teachers did not get paid holidays or vacation, which Sasse pointed out in a letter of his own.

Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said he wants the issue of salaries and the letter to be addressed when the commissioners and the School Board hold a joint meeting next Tuesday.

Morgan said her comparison was sparked by a discussion about teachers' and administrators' salaries at last month's joint meeting.

Iseminger questioned at that Dec. 11 meeting why the School Board gave larger raises this year to administrators than to teachers.

For the 2001-2002 school year, the administrators received 7 percent raises: 3 percent step increases and an extra 4 percent. Teachers received 5 percent increases plus steps, most of which are in the 1 percent to 1.5 percent range.

Morgan's comparison does not make sense, said Iseminger, who is married to a teacher.

"A lot of what she is doing is apples to oranges," he said. Teachers and administrators have different responsibilities, he said.

Commissioner Paul Swartz said the comparison doesn't make sense since teachers don't work year-round.

Commissioners William J. Wivell and John L. Schnebly said they did not want to comment on the comparison until they further research the matter.

Forrest said he sees nothing wrong with comparing two employee groups in the same profession.

"I think it is good information for the public. Those are public bits of information," School Board Member Paul W. Bailey said. "The facts are out there now."

School Board member J. Herbert Hardin said the comparison is difficult to make because it doesn't include factors such as the employees' workload.

Board member Doris Nipps said she sees nothing wrong with comparing how teachers' and administrators' pay would compare if they worked the same hours. She said administrators have more responsibilities than teachers.

Board member Roxanne Ober said she had no comment.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and School Board members Bernadette Wagner and Mary Wilfong could not be reached for comment.

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