Critical of school boardAt the July meeting of the Hudson school board, a big group of Houlton Elementary parents showed up to petition the board for enough money to hire a second full-time teacher for their 32 fifth graders.
By: Bob Muchlinski, Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
At the July meeting of the Hudson school board, a big group of Houlton Elementary parents showed up to petition the board for enough money to hire a second full-time teacher for their 32 fifth graders.
The parents made an excellent case based on the school district’s own guidelines and goals. Yet, the school board turned them down flat. Instead of splitting the fifth grade into two classes, the board chose to hire a half-time teacher to help in the one crowded classroom. This saved the district $13,338.
One board member explained his philosophy as this: “I respect the taxpayers to the highest degree and tend to take their tax money with the greatest care.” When I heard that I spit out my coffee. Who are they kidding?
We all remember Arnie Fett, who retired in 2006 as the school district’s Director of Financial Operations. He managed the district’s finances by himself for 17 years, and he did quite well for himself and for the district.
After Mr. Fett’s retirement, the administration hired Tim Erickson as the Financial Services Director at a compensation level of $151,859 per year. After a couple years on the job, the school board determined that Mr. Erickson could not manage his duties by himself. So last year they created a “Financial Services Manager” position. This new employee gets paid $90,590 to help Mr. Erickson.
Now we are paying two people (at a combined cost of a quarter million dollars per year) to do the same job that Mr. Fett did all by himself!
The board can easily find $90,590 for an assistant bookkeeper, but it can’t find $13,338 for a full-time fifth grade teacher? Apparently there is plenty of money for administration but not much for education.
And the school board wants us to believe they respect the citizens and manage our money with the greatest care. Baloney.