Teachers, Superintendents And School Boards

Monday, June 24, 2013
Teachers, Superintendents, and School Boards - 

While I may not address them in that particular order, it is quite obvious that these three subjects are quite the topic of discussion in the past week or so, at least from the posts to the opinion column, if nothing else. So here’s my take: 

Superintendents: There’s a lot of outrage over our superintendent’s new pay raise. Let me tell you, the only people in Hamilton County that have anything close to the burden of responsibility of Rick Smith are the mayors of Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Rick deserves every penny he makes for his relentless 24/7 job. Does he deserve to make more than the mayors? Maybe not, but that’s not my call. If that presents an issue, somebody make a proposal that equalizes all three of their salaries. While we’re on the subject of responsibility vs. salary, let me also say that the principals in Hamilton County also earn every cent they’re paid. For those of you that think otherwise, I’m sure Rick would be more than glad to give you that $75,000 principal salary if you can run a school for a year. Sound easy? Try it.

Which brings me to the teachers. While I do appreciate the outrage in the opinions over school teachers needing a raise, it’s obvious the more outspoken elected officials on our school board and county commission think otherwise, especially when looking at their voting record. Last raise was when? If you look at that public listing of salaries of $60,000 or more that everybody seems to fixate on, you’ll notice that there are maybe three or four teachers at most that make the list. That’s three or four out of the hundreds of teachers in Hamilton County. In order to do so, you need a minimum of 28 years experience, a master’s degree or better, an 11 month contract and coaching supplements. Now business people out there, if you’ve got 30 years experience in your field and an MBA or master’s degree and you’re making $60,000 a year or less, let’s face it, you’re at the bottom of the barrel. 

However, thanks to our state school board and their new teacher salary schedule (thank you Kevin Huffman), in 5-10 years, teachers may end up being the highest paid individuals in the work force. Why? They’ll be an endangered species. The state school board bought Huffman's snake oil pitch that by lowering teacher salaries, the local school boards could raise teacher pay based on what they deemed best, be it student achievement (test scores), experience, education, etc. and teachers would have the opportunity to earn even more than they do now. Hmm… great idea. How do you think our school board and county commission will handle that? Does the phrase “minimum standard” sound about right? It goes right along with that familiar philosophy of “low bid” all too apparent around here. 

Huffman may actually have it right, though. I come from a family of teachers and nurses. Nurses are in high demand, and they can easily make twice what a teacher makes with the same education. So, how about incentive pay for nurses? The more patients you see, the more money you make. The mortality rate in ICU affects your salary positively or negatively. Will that fly? Of course not - but that’s exactly what they’re asking of teachers. In 5-10 years, teachers will be so few and far between, we will have to pay them whatever exorbitant salary will convince them to enter or stay in the profession. Think I’m wrong? Ask any teacher you know how many years they have till retirement. Trust me, they’re all counting at this point.

Lee Crews
Hixson

Why Aren't Commissioners Part-Time Employees?

Five years ago in an online piece by David Carroll, dated Aug 26 and 27, 2010, Thomas Kranz, CFO for the Hamilton County Schools, was addressing the issue of a retirement plan for Hamilton County School Board members.  In his remarks, Mr. Kranz noted that sometime earlier than 2010, Hamilton County commissioners established their own retirement plan funded by the Hamilton ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Barners Trounce Who?

There is a website known as Grammarly that just completed a profound study. An automated proof-reading company (who I hope never finds out about me) collected 100 comments that each included over 50 words from the comment blogs of the nation’s preseason Top 25 college football teams. Then they fed them into the company’s huge algorithm computer and checked each fan base for punctuation, ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center May Get Bankruptcy Trustee Who Would Focus On Sale Of Fort Oglethorpe Hospital

Hutcheson Medical Center may be headed for appointment of a bankruptcy trustee, who would focus on the sale of the financially-strapped Fort Oglethorpe hospital. An attorney told a bankruptcy court judge in Rome, Ga., on Wednesday afternoon that a buyer is discussing paying over $20 million for all the assets of the community hospital. Attorney Rob Williamson ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Unsecured Creditors Committee Asks Trustee Be Appointed For Fort Oglethorpe Hospital; Asks Bankruptcy Not Be Dismissed

The Unsecured Creditors Committee of Hutcheson Medical Center is opposing a motion by U.S. Trustee Guy Gebhardt for a bankruptcy judge to dismiss the bankruptcy for the financially-ailing Fort Oglethorpe hospital.   Instead, the group is asking Judge Paul Bonapfel to appoint a trustee to oversee the Hutcheson finances. In a 16-page motion, the committee said if the bankruptcy ... (click for more)

East Ridge Football: Home Side Stands Are Closed ... Four Home Games Will Be Played on Campus

The home side football stands and press box at East Ridge High School are closed permanently due to safety issues, but for the 66 teenagers who wear the orange, white and gray for the Pioneers on Friday nights it’s a small distraction and the season continues. “Playing this Friday’s game against Signal Mountain at Baylor (7:30 p.m.) is a small distraction for us, but we know ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Sweeps Red Bank In Volleyball

Signal Mountain coach Jennifer Redman was not a very happy young lady last week when Notre Dame came up and took a 3-1 volleyball win in the Lady Eagles' gym. She knows she has an experienced team with more than her share of talent, but they just hadn't been playing like it to start the season. The veteran coach was somewhat happier Wednesday night after her team took a non-district ... (click for more)