Group concerned about school district, salaries

Published 12:30 am Sunday, October 15, 2017

  • The Natchez-Adams County Tax Association, which was started in the 1980s, has been resurrected by a group of concerned citizens who want a venue to monitor, discuss and take action when necessary on fiscal policies and responsibilities pertaining to our community. We have been meeting since August, and we feel that because of the school bond issue and the very real possibility that the state will take over our failing school district, it is imperative we immediately begin addressing the problems with our public education system.

NACTA has recently received a ranking of the public funded salaries of all the Natchez-Adams County public agencies. These salaries total $34,147,433.80 annually, not including benefits.  The City spends (19.7 percent), the County (21.7 percent), and the School District (58.5 percent) on employee salaries.  Because our focus is on the schools, there will be a complete listing of school salaries in this paper sometime in the next week for you to study.  A listing below will show you some of our main concerns pertaining to salaries for the school district.

  •  There appear to be as many or more district-level employees as some districts serving six times as many students.
  •  Several secretary/clerical staff and over a half dozen maintenance workers and custodians in the schools are paid more than $30,000 which is more than entry level teachers, sheriff’s deputies, fire lieutenants, a county sanitation director and a county janitorial supervisor. They are paid about 2.5 times as much as the school security officers and county janitorial and road department staff. (This realization is even more frustrating when we are told we need new schools due to the state of disrepair in current buildings, yet many of our local, state, and federal buildings are older and in better condition.)
  • Nine school principals are paid salaries ($75,000+) higher than the national averages and much more than the state averages, as well as more than those in the Jackson and New Orleans districts; however, 80 percent of the schools were rated “F” or “D.”
  • Some administrative assistants and clerks in the school and county are paid ($46,000+) almost 50 percent more than many of the teachers and significantly more than equivalent employees with the County.
  • Entry-level teachers are paid significantly lower than national and other urban teachers.
  • Some technology support staff ($44,000 and $55,000) are paid more than some assistant principals.
  • An athletic director is paid a full and hefty salary ($70,000) to supervise the activities of 1 high school and 1 middle school, when most districts of similar size delegate these responsibilities to the principals or a head coach at each school. This salary is also $10,000 more than the director of curriculum and instruction, who seems to be paid a salary commensurate with the position.

The concerns above are fiscal ones, but they are not our only concerns or even the main one. NACTA wants to be perfectly clear — we certainly do not mind paying for the education of our children. It is our moral and ethical responsibility to do so.  But it is obvious that our school district, which has been provided plenty of money, (it currently spends $11,200 per student) is not providing our children with a decent education. We believe we, like many other communities have done, should be able to give our youth a good education at a reasonable price. Our children need the tools to become happy, productive citizens of our future. If we do not, new businesses will not locate where the public education is so dismally failing. Our tax base will continue to erode as we lose jobs, and as more families relocate to places where their tax dollars will provide their children with the necessary education to succeed.  Who can blame them?  A smaller tax base will only lead to less money for our schools.

If we want to provide for the future of our children and our community, it is imperative that we act and act quickly! A consultant has been hired to study the problems with our school district and offer solutions; based upon what he has shared in a variety of community meetings, we have great faith in his experience and knowledge and are very thankful for his invaluable help. If you are interested in more information about NACTA, please find us on Facebook or email us at  We invite all taxpayers of Natchez-Adams County to join as we endeavor to return hope and prosperity to our struggling community.
Marcia McCullough is a member of the Natchez-Adams County Tax Association.

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