Monday, January 22, 2007

An overwhelming sense of entitlement . . .

An overwhelming sense of entitlement is the feeling that came through yesterday's O-D Story "Utica administrators' pay up - Total salaries increased 46 percent in 5 years."

"It is contractual and it's not like we're giving them the money. It's money they've earned by working for the district for so many years," School Board President Barbara Klein is quoted as saying.

So we have an elementary principal whose pay is now over $100,000 after increasing 30% in 5 years, and a "director of instructional media" whose pay is almost $110,000 after increasing 24% in 5 years. How many other people in the community have had such lavish pay raises? Most are happy if they can just keep their jobs.

While the Utica pay scales actually look a bit reasonable when compared with other school districts, the fact is that people all over New York are paying far too much for education. It is why school taxes have grown more than other taxes, why STAR was implemented, and why jobs and businesses are driven away.

The rate of pay increases noted above far exceeds the rate of inflation and is probably about double the rate of pay increases among other public employees: those working for the state and federal governments. There is simply no justification for these groups of public employees to be treated differently -- But there is an explanation: strong unions and a Public Employees Relations Board (that does NOT oversee the state or federal workers) that is apparently not interested in the taxpayers' ability to pay and routinely approves pay increases. The operations of PERB need to be examined. Additionally, while "competition" is cited as a justification, the "competition" has been limited by the requirement of an "administrators certificate" -- so it has all been contrived by insiders.

As alluded to in yesterday's post about Prestwick Glen, there is selfishness behind all of this.
And selfishness hurts us all.


Anonymous said...

Strikeslip: It looks like the Observer Dispatch is up to their shenanigans, again. I clicked on your hypertext link and discovered that the O.D. took the Sunday, January 21, 2007 front page article titled, "Utica school administrators' pay up" off-line. How convenient!

However, I will comment based on what I have read in the O.D. Sunday Newspaper.

I. ADMINISTRATORS& EXPERTS (???) attribute the growth in complexity of the job, the demand (?) for experienced administrators, and the competitive market for a shrinking (?) number of administrative candidates. My response: Who is b/sing whom? Does the Utica School District believe that City of Utica taxpayers are that gullible or is the Utica Board of Education so damn gullible, ignorant and/or stupid when it comes to the realization that administrative salaries MUST be tied to PERFORMANCE! Yes, I said Performance!

I see no correlation in the absurd salaries when balanced against the on-going student scores as compared to their counterparts, similarly situated. What contributions have the Utica School Administrators done for education? Yes, I have read about one administrator whose so-called demonstrated abilities are not only questionable but become suspect from a peer level point-of-view.

All the taxpayers hear are the students, the students, the students. Anyone who can read a budgeted line item from the Utica School Budget will realize that expenditures could be curtailed by (at least) 30% or more. We need to get back to the three R's and classrooms of 30 students per single teacher.

The Utica School District does NOT need Administrators. What are needed are competent resource managers who know how to trim operational staffs to reflect expected performance from the existing staff. If one does not perform, guess what..."they are terminated." No doubt we have so many within the Utica School System who have demonstrated their incompetence in their respective curriculums. Think of how much could be saved through terminations!

Barbara Klein, Board President stated, "Salaries are driven up by contracts and by the administrators' education and experience." Let me debunk this myth. What Ms. Klein should be saying, "Monkey see...monkey does." Ms. Klein like her similarly situated Board Members speak out of both sides of their mouths. The trouble is one cannot understand what they are saying because they (Board Members) do not know themselves.

If Utica Schools are to really prosper, take the bull by the proverbial "horns" and demand that administrators be required to "think" outside the box. Are they incapable of thinking?

Utica Schools are a cesspool of gross incompetence and GREED! Ms. Beck reflected on how she does not get paid overtime against her salary of $100,008. I challenge the Utica School Board to PUBLISH all Administrator salaries to include the amount reported on each one's 2006 W-2 reported to the IRS. I will bet Ms. Beck's W-2 reflects an amount greater than $100,008 per annum.

If one were to use a 9 month period for actual work performed (this is debatable) one would find that our administrators are paid more on a per hour basis than many of our judges, attorney and similar situated professional personnel.

Utica needs a top to bottom analysis of where each dollar comes from, how spent and how third parties benefit through non-reported monies that are outside the budget, however, under the control of the Utica School Board Members.

Integrity and Honesty are important within any school system. However, given the magnitude of the misuse and/or abuse of taxpayer dollars coupled alongside the $100 million dollar spending project - EDUCATION to our students will never rise to the level(s) received within the surrounding school districts.

Lowengard was allowed to leave Utica unscathed, Ms. Skermont appears to be following in his foot paths of "damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead." These two are dinosaurs in the age of education and their efforts have collectively hurt any attempts to bring the Utica School Districts into a premier venue.

Sorry, but that is how I see the Utica School District Education. On-going chaos!

Strikeslip said...

The OD put the news story in a new location, so the link to it has been rewritten to work again.

Strikeslip said...

Arkangel -- looks like the OD has taken you up on your challenge.
This list of administrator salaries is here