Squawk that turns to talk is worthwhile

Published 11:37pm Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Does the Natchez-Adams School District pay its top administrators too much? Or does it have too many top administrators?

I don’t know. But I know how I’d find out, if allowed.

You can’t simply look at a list of numbers, become flabbergasted and start squawking about salaries.

Sure, $844,976.66 — the sum of the annual salaries for the top 10 administrators — sounds like a lot of money to most of us.

The top 10 people in most Adams County businesses probably don’t make that much in a year, either.

Further, the individual salaries of these administrators — between $80,000 and $117,000 — is far above the median income in our community, which is $27,096.

But before you get back to your flabbergasted squawking again, please realize that if we hope to ever raise our median income from $27,096 we must invest money in the people leading our school district.

The employees in the top administrative roles need to be some of the most educated, most professional people in town.

School Board President Wayne Barnett is correct — you can’t compare them to the average county employee whose job is to clear roads of debris, track inventory or maintain crumbling bridges.

But you also can’t cut school administrators a check each month without doing some serious monitoring of their work. Every employee in the world needs that.

It has to start simply. How do they spend their days?

Is every minute consumed with something that either directly or indirectly improves the education of our students or must be done to meet state or federal reporting regulations?

If significant gaps of time that simply aren’t well used exist in their schedules, then it may be time to consider merging that job with another.

Paying an employee $1 to waste time is paying them $1 too much.

If time is spent on task, then someone must start asking whether or not the task is meeting the goals of the district and whether the employee is accomplishing the task as quickly as someone else might be able to do.

This is not rocket science.

But, according to at least two school board members, there are doubts that it’s been done thoroughly.

The school district isn’t set up like a business — there’s no CEO who can hire and fire at will — and regardless of what plenty of taxpayers in the community will say, it shouldn’t be run like a business, either.

It can, of course, do some things in a business-like manner.

The board has acknowledged concern over salaries and has spent time at several recent meetings discussing the issue.

That’s a great start, and they seem on the right track.

Now it’s time for the board to make a decision about who will handle one-by-one employee reviews. Who will sit down with the top 10 administrators and genuinely seek to learn how they spend their time?

Who will review the reports from that person?

What will the board do with the information they receive?

Few outside the district should point to salary numbers and say “too high.”

But those of us on the outside have every right to demand that the men and women appointed to represent us on the school board look at each employee and ask thorough questions, now, and again each year.

If both sides do their part, our future will be brighter.

 

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.

 

 

  • Anonymous

    Don’t fret over these salaries.  Come Monday, it’ll be good news.

  • Anonymous

    The top 10s work almost all of the calendar year, not the same schedule as a classroom teacher, thus a reason for a higher salary in relation to a teacher.  You left  out a key element of not just HOW a person spends their day, but HOW WELL they do those tasks assigned to them.  Current structure places everyone with the same degree and same years of experience into a single salary level.  This needs to be adjusted to salary RANGES, so that lower level performers as evaluated in the manner you mention are not compensated on the same level as a top level performer.  Normally, only top level performers should be ”promoted” to the central office positions of leadership roles and the lower level performers would peak out at a lower/middle level in the salary range and likely remain in the school campus roles. 

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Your first sentence is answered YES these people salaries or out of line and too many of them!!!! Need evaluations fron the Supt.-down to the janitors by a out of state certified group for this bunch is the problem as well as the school board!!! If this same school board does the evaluation you as well as me know whats going to happen that they want do any cutting or fireing that needs to be done!!!!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Sorry , I have to disagree with your statement of the top 10 work almost all of the calender year also believe the cuts should be at lease -35% or more!!!! National news said months ago that the nation teachers were being paid way above reasoning for actually only working 6 to 7 months with all the holidays, benefits, healthcare, and pension-retirements is astromomical figures that has got to stop during these times!!!! These teacher unions in the yankee states have stopped paying on these pensions-retirements??!! Also, this is why colleges tuition is so high and has got to be cut or want get federal aid!!!

  • Anonymous

    Uh oh, more consultants.  Based on all your other comments on cutting local salaries and hiring outsiders to come in and do evaluations, etc. please look at the amounts of money being paid to those “experts” in a short period of time and all the money leaves the area, plus any knowledge that may have been gained by the consultants during their “studies” or “evaluations”.  Maybe we can get a grant for that?

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    To get it done fair this is the only way and the board has wasted thousands of dollars up to now and this will make things better as far as academics and saving money to the school system by shrinking the facualty for their is just to many chiefs and no indians??!!!!!

    In a message dated 4/5/2012 8:53:43 P.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    oldsouthgent wrote, in response to khakirat:
    Uh oh, more consultants. Based on all your other comments on cutting local salaries and hiring outsiders to come in and do evaluations, etc. please look at the amounts of money being paid to those “experts” in a short period of time and all the money leaves the area, plus any knowledge that may have been gained by the consultants during their “studies” or “evaluations”. Maybe we can get a grant for that?

    _Link to comment_ (http://disq.us/6ecnmo?imp=d8e5aff3-00e5-44e8-b273-fc5192c220d1&thread=635821382&zone=email_notification&event=shortener_click)

  • Anonymous

    Fine, then cut the number of work days they have to put in correspondingly.  Let’s see, 35% reduction to the 225 or so days some of them work is about 78 work days per year, so they would work around 150 days.  Since the students go to school about 180 days a year, maybe they can teach themselves that extra month+?

    Again, you are a liberal Democrat spouting ultra conservative ideas.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    What Ms. legislature needs to do as the ND this Saturday a/m of passing the laws that ties a teachers pay and security to students performance among the vouchers and other things!!!!

    In a message dated 4/7/2012 6:59:53 A.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    oldsouthgent wrote, in response to khakirat:
    Fine, then cut the number of work days they have to put in correspondingly. Let’s see, 35% reduction to the 225 or so days some of them work is about 78 work days per year, so they would work around 150 days. Since the students go to school about 180 days a year, maybe they can teach themselves that extra month+?

    Again, you are a liberal Democrat spouting ultra conservative ideas.

    _Link to comment_ (http://disq.us/6fcphu?imp=fb4ef5dd-c8d7-43fe-b57e-1d552a9ea22c&thread=635821382&zone=email_notification&event=shortener_click)

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    What Ms. legislature needs to do as the ND this Saturday a/m of passing the laws that ties a teachers pay and security to students performance among the vouchers and other things!!!!

    In a message dated 4/7/2012 6:59:53 A.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    oldsouthgent wrote, in response to khakirat:
    Fine, then cut the number of work days they have to put in correspondingly. Let’s see, 35% reduction to the 225 or so days some of them work is about 78 work days per year, so they would work around 150 days. Since the students go to school about 180 days a year, maybe they can teach themselves that extra month+?

    Again, you are a liberal Democrat spouting ultra conservative ideas.

    _Link to comment_ (http://disq.us/6fcphu?imp=fb4ef5dd-c8d7-43fe-b57e-1d552a9ea22c&thread=635821382&zone=email_notification&event=shortener_click)

  • Anonymous

    The reason for the outcry is that there has been NO return on investment for those salaries.

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