The Decatur County Community Schools Board of Education held a public hearing for the superintendent salary on Monday.
Superintendent Dr. Jarod Burns would receive a raise that would make his annual base salary $161,000. The superintendent base salary for the past year was $127,668.27.
The board gave a prepared statement which is summarized as follows. They were able to hire Dr. Burns as superintendent at a very low pay and if they were to hire a new superintendent now they would need to pay even more than what the raise would be, as the current fair market for superintendents has gone up substantially. With the new contract all stipends will go away and vacation days must be used or they will be lost. The new base salary is financially solvent and competitive with the surrounding areas. The superintendent was hired to ensure the best education for the students of DCCS including keeping the school buildings up to date and holding teachers accountable. After this raise, the superintendent will only accept the same raise that can be given to the teachers. This new base salary will also keep them in line with the median base salary for the state.
The floor was then opened to the public.
One participant requested to know how many teachers they lost last year from the corporation as they are worried that teachers are continuously leaving the corporation because of not being paid enough. They wondered if the superintendent was doing his job well enough, as teachers continue to leave.
Another participant agreed with them and also stated that they believe the money would have been well-justified if given to the teachers.
Another participant thanked the board for addressing some concerns with their statement. They then proceeded to explain how in many high school classrooms there is 1 teacher for 30+ students. They had been told they would not notice if their classroom numbers went up and so far this has not been the case at South Decatur at least. The student to teacher ratios provided don’t match the reality of the classroom. They agree that Dr. Burns has done a great job with covid, however it is the teachers and staff that are on the frontlines everyday.
Another participant asked what schools they sampled to come up with the $161,000 base pay. They had conducted their own research and other schools in the state who were roughly their size range from $107-$130 K base salary. A bigger school like Franklin with 5,000 students is paying $170,000. For comparison DCCS is about 1,700 students. Batesville is paying their superintendent $142,000 and they have roughly 2,200 students.
One participant requested they reconsider as the amount of the raise is not equitable to the rest of the school. Everyone did their job with Covid and they deserve to be paid fairly. It takes a village to raise a child and they have done this. They don’t agree with moving funds to give a raise of this size.
The last participant read a letter that had been prepared and signed by several teachers. This letter asked that the board review their concerns-some of which were addressed in the statement- before approving a raise. A couple of the concerns mentioned were who proposed these details in the contract and where is the money coming from. They believe that Burns has been a great superintendent but doesn’t deserve a raise of this size. The raise would also make his base salary higher than surrounding and larger school corporations.
The public hearing was closed.
All Rights Reserved