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Pay raises and budgets

by John G. Miller

MANAGING EDITOR

If you missed Friday's newspaper, we published a story outlining how much money Harrison County school administrators are paid, and how much they would make after a state-mandated pay raise goes into effect next year.

We published a listing of all administrators' salaries, with the exact figures as provided by the school system.

Some questioned whether we had invaded the administrators' privacy, but actually all the information is public. All you have to do is ask.

We chose to share it with our readers because a number of you had asked us to. After last Tuesday's board meeting, in which board members questioned the need for county-funded pay raises since state raises were now available, several of you called or e-mailed us wanting more details.

We delivered. And apparently we ruffled a few feathers.

One administrator told me he felt the story didn't give a clear picture of the situation, and that only a few administrators would get "hefty" pay raises (as much as $12,000), while most would receive less.

That's why we printed the complete list. To show that the big pay raises mentioned by board members weren't across the board.

Those who would receive the most have the most seniority. That's because the state pay raise gives more to those with 31 years of service or more.

But lost in the talk of big pay raises is the fact that our school administrators aren't that well paid, even after the raises.

A survey of state elementary, middle school and high school principals' average salaries shows that Harrison County is 15th in the elementary category at $54,611.45; 18th for middle schools at $55,888.89; 16th in the high school category at $60,829.92, and 6th in assistant superintendents at $70,673.12, according to Sharon Haddix of the board office.

That may sound like a lot of money, but if you think about the required education, the long hours and the constant pressure of dealing with the public, their pay pales in comparison to administrators in other areas of the state, other states and the private sector.

We've heard a lot from our leaders about making West Virginia known as "The Education State." The state-funded pay raises are a step in the right direction.

Are county-funded pay raises necessary now? That's up to the school board members, who in turn must answer to the citizens of Harrison County.

But if you think about the number of children a good administrator or teacher can influence, his or her value is priceless. Of course, so is staying under budget.

John G. Miller is managing editor of The Exponent & Telegram. He can be reached at 626-1473 or by e-mail at jmiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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