Wow, am I glad I do not have children in the New-Albany-Floyd County school system. The board changed plans to give Superintendent Bruce Hibbard a $24,000 raise, giving him a one year contract extension at his current $142,000 salary.
This came after the public found out and raised a stink. I can not say I have been following the activities of the local school board, but with a niece and nephew in this system, I think I need to pay a little more attention, because there have been a couple of things that are not quite making sense to me as of late, this just being the most recent.
To his credit, Hibbard announced at the onset of a meeting this past Monday night that he would not accept a pay raise, although I share the sentiment of teachers union head Mark Kessans that the timing of Hibbard's refusal left a lot to be desired. I always thought a wise strategy in politics was not to do good, but to be seen doing good. And yes, it is in fact possible for me to agree with a teachers union head. Mark it down, because it does not happen very often.
The school board's fuzzy math is what started peaking my interest. By their logic, Hibbard deserved a bump to $166,000 to bring him in line with what the board called the average of the 24 superintendents that have 10,000 or more students. Okay. I'm with you there, as I believe in competitive salaries, but as the Louisville Courier-Journal pointed out, the average salary of all superintendents, which the board repeatedly mentioned, is only $115,000.
You go by that measuring stick, then Hibbard is doing alright. Even without the measuring stick, Hibbard is doing alright at $142,000. The only thing I am willing to grant is Hibbard is in charge of the 15th largest student population in the state, yet is only the 32nd highest-paid superintendent in the state, which does seem a bit disjointed to me.
For all the disapproval of the public, and the other employees of the school district, the school board acted decisively, by which I mean they voted to remove the provision tying Hibbard's future raises to the percentage given to teachers each year. This after no employee got a raise this year, and the teachers agreed to no raises for the next two years. Nice little end run right around the notion the people you are representing wanted you to stay within your pay grade.
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