Money, Money, Money - And Response (2)

Monday, February 17, 2020

Other than most of the teachers, a minority of the students and a handful in administration, the Hamilton County School system is a joke.

How do you justify a $42,500 raise to Dr. Johnson? Someone, please justify this raise. Will his raise save money elsewhere in the system?

Until the Hamilton County schools are run like a private business it will always be wanting money, money and more money.

It's easy to spend someone else’s money and in this case it's the retired and hard working citizens of Hamilton County.

M. G. Mansfield

* * * 

Mr. Mansfield,

First off, not here to refute your claim of the Hamilton County School system being sub par. I don't know much about it, honestly. However I personally commute 45-50 minutes two times per workday from Cleveland to Chattanooga. This is certainly in part to having more faith in the school system surrounding Cleveland over that of Chattanooga. 

I wanted to address your sentiment of Johnson's raise being unjustifiable. On the surface, it seems like a sizable raise, sure. But more questions need to be answered to determine if the move is undeniably without warrant.

How much does Johnson now make in comparison to others in the same role from other cities of similar size to Chattanooga?

How long has he been on the job and how many other raises has he been given?

What kind of job has he done? Do we have concrete data on system improvement or decline under his leadership?

What was the alternative? Risk losing him to another city and having to start with new leadership, if we raise wasn't approved, as an example?

My point is, it's not always as simple as saying, "Hey, this public official got a big raise and it doesn't seem right to me." Maybe there is more to that story to determine just how bad or good of a move it really was. 

For the sake of our children, I hope it proves to be a fully justified investment on behalf of Chattanooga. 

Recie Austin

* * * 

I have a question as well, especially when it comes to the bonus structure below:

He could earn up to $20,000 in additions to his pay. These include:

$5,000 when at least half of all third grade students are on track or achieve mastery as measured by the TNReady English Language Arts assessment,
$5,000 when 38 percent of all students across all grades are on track in Algebra 1,
$5,000 when the average ACT composite for the class of 2023 is 21, and
$5,000 if 90 percent of students who entered high school in 2019 graduate by Summer, 2023.

Should these not be requirements and expectations of the position to begin with and not part of a bonus structure?  An ACT score of 21 is considered average or “middle of the pack” in this country.  Please tell me we are not striving for “middle of the pack” for our Hamilton County students and then awarding our superintendent with a bonus for achieving mediocrity.  That sounds like a participation trophy if I have ever heard of one, only this trophy alone comes with a $5,000 price tag to taxpayers, not to mention the other three.    

How about instead of a bonus structure his contract is reviewed annually and if these basic requirements are not met or improved upon he is no longer an employee of Hamilton County. That sounds like a better renegotiation for the taxpayers of this county.    

Chris Morgan


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