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

New Walmart Neighborhood Market Is Regress For The Community

Driving out East Brainerd Road recently, I was excited to see that what I thought was the run down strip center being renovated was actually a new Walmart Neighborhood Market.  I believe that this is the same type facility that was proposed for Middle Valley, but was rejected by the local citizens living in that area. I don't recalling hearing anything about any neighborhood ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Funds Need To Stay Local

After reading the recent article in the Chattanoogan about the WWTA and local plumbers I think the prospect of WWTA using outside contractors would be bad for Hamilton County.   As a Hamilton County resident and taxpayer, I believe the money should stay in our local economy. The WWTA needs to find a way to work with the local plumbers to keep the funds in Hamilton County.  ... (click for more)

Plumbers Bring Complaints To WWTA; Told New Contracts Are Ready

Several plumbers on Thursday brought complaints to a committee of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and got little response other than being told that new contracts are ready. Kay Keefe of Keefe Plumbing said the small number of plumbing companies still participating in the program to repair leaky lines to homes, have long been operating without ... (click for more)

Non-Custodial Father Who Picked Up Children At Chattanooga Daycare Is Caught In Ohio

A non-custodial father who picked up his children at a Chattanooga daycare and headed north has been caught in Ohio. T ony Thomas and the children have been located in Toledo. T homas is in custody in Lucas County and awaiting extradition. T he children were unharmed and will be in Child Protective Services custody until the mother is able to pick them up. ... (click for more)

Weather Clears. Lookouts Drop Double-Header To Barons Friday

The Chattanooga Lookouts (44-31) dropped both game one, 3-1, and game two, 6-1, of tonight's doubleheader against the Birmingham Barons (38-38) in front of a sold-out crowd of 6,371.  This was the largest crowd of the year for Chattanooga and their first sell out of 2015. The Barons improved to 6-11 overall and 4-2 on the road against the Lookouts. Birmingham pulled even ... (click for more)

TSWA Announces All-State Softball Teams

 The Tennessee Sports Writers Association has announced its all-state high school softball teams for 2015. Local selections include: AAA - Kayla Boseman (Fr), Ooltewah and Hallie Davis (Sr), Walker Valley; AA - Kaili Crawley (Fr) of Central; A - McKenna Morgan (Jr), Sale Creek; and, Division II-AA - Lauren Lewis (Sr), Kayla Hughes (Sr) and Cheyenne Lindsey (Fr) of Baylor.  ... (click for more)