School Department Should be Cutting High Paid Positions

January 24, 2012
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There is an environment in the private sector that is compensating for all the business and revenues that were lost when the nation’s economy nearly collapsed in 2007. In fact, the nation’s economy has stabilized but millions remain unemployed, jobs aren’t being created and in general, it is high time that financially strapped municipalities like Lynn need to look closely at cutting some of the highest paid positions and handing off work to others who need to come up to the plate and to do more.

A recent School Committee vote on a new deputy superintendent hire – Susan Rowe – reveals that three members of the School Committee get it and four don’t.

Ms. Rowe will be paid $121,000 with a confidential secretary who will likely earn $50,000 and she, Ms. Rowe, will also receive a $350 a month car allowance.

Voting against her were: Donna Coppola, Rick Starbard and Maria Corrasco. All three should receive medals for understanding the plight of this city and how virtually nothing will change in the public schools in this city because of Ms. Rowe and whatever she is presumably going to do.

Voting for her, for an additional $190,000 in expenses during a time when the public schools are struggling to remain relevant, were: Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy, Patricia Capano, John Ford, and Charles Gallo.

Their votes were not about profiles in courage.

They were about saying OK to a plush, easy, guaranteed new job with great benefits – and for what? What exactly will Ms. Rowe do to make the public schools a better place in this city?

Virtually nothing. That is the answer.

Superintendent of Schools Catherine Latham makes something like $180,000 a year when you add it all up. Now her second in command adds about $190,000 to that with her secretary and car allowance. That’s a nearly $400,000 total – and for what?

We are absolutely certain Ms. Latham could carry on quite nicely without Ms. Rowe coming on board.

Had Ms. Rowe’s position not been filled and her job duties split up with all the highest paid administrators, the city could have saved almost $200,000 which might reasonably be spent for additional teachers and added teaching resources in a school system that is not scoring many victories as the public schools are made up of only those students whose parents can’t afford for their educations elsewhere.

It is, we believe, a sad commentary on the times when $200,000 to achieve absolutely nothing but giving out two easy jobs and a car allowance satisfies the mayor and three of her colleagues on the School Committee.

We again thank Ms. Coppola, Ms. Carrasco and Mr. Starbard for refusing to vote for these new positions and allowances at a time when the system is crying out for more money in order to save teachers’ jobs. What’s good for the private sector should be good for the public sector – but apparently not in Lynn where the gravy train continues at the expense of our children.

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