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Donít Throw Stones

To The Editor:

If my fellow public officials quoted in the article "Administrators Mopping Up the Moolah" are so worried about salaries, then before throwing stones they could try giving up their $90,000+ paychecks and work for free like every Board of Education member does. Otherwise, if the only way to attract such apparently superior, frugal-minded public servants to the vitally important job of educating our local children is to offer a salary, then the quoted public officials should start lobbying Albany to make a paycheck an incentive to serve on a Board of Education.

Furthermore, Kitty Merrill's comment comparing a school district employee's salary to his peer at the county level makes as much sense as comparing what someone at the town level makes to his counterpart at the federal level. Public sector salaries don't go up in proportion to one's responsibilities.

The president of the United States as leader of the free world has duties at least four thousand times as great as a town supervisor, yet the president is paid just four times as much. Nevertheless, if the quoted public officials truly agree with Ms. Merrill's logic, then they should each take a drastic pay cut.


Southampton Board of Education

Editor's Note: Actually, we've advocated school districts hire professional money managers that answer only to the school board for precisely the reason you mention ó as volunteers, school board members can't be expected to manage multi-million dollar budgets, and most don't have the acumen to do so. However, the poor taxpayers are paying scores of administrators, superintendents, business managers and office personnel ó you seem to have conveniently forgotten them.

It is troubling you defend school spending practices, because as a board member you are elected by the taxpayers to safeguard our rights and to insure our dollars are being spent wisely. In the case of the Southampton School District, a recent comparison revealed your district spends more per student than any similar-sized school district in the entire state, often twice as much and sometimes even more. You're so inbred in the system that your logic is convoluted: the public officials quoted by Merrill earn far less than school superintendents though they oversee much bigger operations. By any rational criteria your district is one of the most wasteful and inefficient in the state. It's scary ó you just don't get it, do you?

January 16, 2007


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