Monday, March 30, 2009

Defending the superintendent's salary

Friday's Sun Post reported that MUSD superintendent Jason Messer is getting a raise in salary from $161,822.39 a year as assistant superintendent to $186,222.38 a year for his new job as superintendent for the 22,800 student Manteca school district. The district's previous superintendent, Cathy Nichols-Washer was making $207,415.80 a year before she left for a $230K job with Lodi's school district.

Some people, including Manteca resident Steven J. Catalano, think Messer shouldn't be getting a raise while the district is cutting teachers' jobs and salaries. I'm going to defend Messer's raise, odd as that may seem. When the former superintendent left for $greener$ pastures, Messer took over the job with no increase in pay or title while the district searched for Nichols-Washer's replacement. Messer has done a good job and was recognized by being appointed permanent superintendent. Along with that job goes the salary and benefits the district budgeted for the position. Because he worked hard and was promoted from within the ranks, should he be penalized? Afterall, had an outsider been hired, they would have been offered the same pay. That's not to say I think the salary isn't overly generous, but it is what it is right now and it would be unfair to expect Messer to decline the raise that goes along with the job and title.

Messer's raise will be short-lived. He has already agreed to reduce his salary starting July 1 (the start of the new fiscal year) to $176,441.51 through June 30, 2011. Messer also turned down benefits that included a monthly expense account and declined to join an administrators union that would cost the district $1,700 in union dues. Why administrators need a union is beyond me, but I applaud Messer for staying independent. The district will also eliminate mileage stipends for administrators starting in July, including $650 month that Messer currently gets.

Meanwhile the teachers and their union bosses, the elitist of the elite because they went to college and some have masters degrees, are still fighting any reduction in raises or pay that would save jobs and help the schools. They'd rather see fellow teachers with less seniority lose their jobs and the kids go without. There's another view from Manteca resident Stacie Silveira in today's Bulletin that's worth reading.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Jason Messer has been a good superintendent (as good as anyone can be in a job like that).