School district studies administration salaries

Published 12:55 am Friday, November 24, 2017


NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams School District Tuesday approved the hiring of John Jordan of Core Learning LLC to compare salaries of school administration in the state to similar positions in Natchez.

Jordan said he would study the salaries of administrators in NASD and compare to other districts across the state that have similar budgets and salaries of employees in Natchez’s government and private sector.

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Along with the salary analysis, Jordan said he would conduct a survey of morale among employees in the district.

“We all know nothing matters (more) in the education of children than the teachers that stand in front of the students every day,” Jordan said.

The original proposal asked Jordan to compare the salaries of all school districts in Mississippi to that of Adams County, but Jordan requested that he be allowed to only include the 10 districts that have budgets closest matching the Natchez-Adams district.

These 10 district are: Columbus Municipal School District, Sunflower County Consolidated School District, Hancock County School District, Pearl Public School District, South Panola School District, Canton Public School District, Petal Public School District, Picayune School District, Grenada School District and Cleveland School District.

Columbus, Sunflower, Hancock, Pearl and  South Panola have slightly larger budgets than the Natchez-Adams County School District, whereas Canton, Petal, Picayune, Grenada and Cleveland have smaller budgets.

These districts, Jordan said, represent economically and geographically diverse areas in Mississippi and would provide a true sense of appropriate administration spending.

“I think it would be best if you looked at the schools that have the dollar amounts that NASD has,” Jordan said. “The data will all be there. I think it’s probably more relevant to the situation.”

School board president Amos James said the purpose of the survey is to ascertain whether the NASD is spending too much or too little on its administrative staff.

The idea for the study first arose, James said, after The Natchez Democrat published salaries of administration, support staff and teachers in the district on Oct. 29.

The survey for teachers and other professionals in the school district would be conducted anonymously and likely online, Jordan said.

Board members discussed the pros and cons of an online survey. Board Member Phillip West was wary of an online survey, saying results could be manipulated if the district did not take all necessary precautions.

Jordan assured West that the survey would be fully anonymous and that the integrity of the responses would be protected.

A paper survey, while less vulnerable to interference, would take far more man hours to conduct and tally, Jordan said.

Anonymity, West said, would allow teachers and staff to be completely honest.

“We want brutal answers,” West said. “This can show us where our weaknesses are and how we’re perceived by people who are employed in the district. There will never be a situation where everybody is happy, but I’d love to know how people honestly feel. “

Jordan said the survey and analysis could be finished in 30 work days, not counting the holiday break.