Cape Girardeau teachers take pay issue to board

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Around 30 Cape Girardeau teachers turned up at Monday night's school board meeting to object to a planned salary increase for the district's next superintendent.

Central High School teacher Pat Kuper read aloud a letter that was mailed to board members last week.

The letter, which was signed by 60 tenured teachers from the high school, raised concerns about the board's decision to make the salary range for the job $125,000 to $140,000 as part of an ongoing superintendent's search.

The local National Education Association also issued an official statement at Monday's meeting objecting to the higher salary range. The current range for the job is set at $100,000 to $110,000.

Central business teacher Tom Doyle was one of two teachers to speak at the meeting, noting that the tenure for Cape Girardeau superintendents has historically been around three years.

"Rather than reward them before they come, why not reward them after they've been here and done a good job?" Doyle said.

Both Doyle and local lawyer Craig Billmeyer questioned the board's decision to pay the Missouri School Boards' Association around $12,000 to conduct the ongoing superintendent search.

"Frankly, I can't believe some of the things that have happened," Billmeyer said. "The board has taken action to hire a consultant to do what I consider to be the board's job."

Board member Laura Sparkman defended the superintendent search, stating that MSBA has access to more potential candidates than the local board would have.

"It's money well spent if we can get the highest qualified candidate for this job," Sparkman said.

Other board members did not comment on the teachers' presentation.

The board will meet in closed session Thursday to review the list of an estimated five to eight finalists chosen by MSBA in the search to replace current superintendent Mark Bowles. The board voted in August against renewing Bowles' contract, which expires June 30.

Board members say they hope to have a new superintendent hired by the end of December.

335-6611, extension 128

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