Tuesday, February 14, 2012

As community gapes in disbelief, its school board rewards Hibbard for welcoming the punishment meted out by Tony Bennett's great hammer of learnin'.

There probably isn't much capable of being added here that hasn't already been written, and with palpable intensity, within the comments for the News and Tribune's guest column by school board member DJ Hines. In retrospect, Hines' carefully orchestrated apologia for a move few people knew was coming until it had already concluded would have drawn more favorable responses if he had proposed mandatory nude atheism for the school board, rather than a pay raise for the school superintendent, which by any available barometer runs counter to the prevailing themes of the local zeitgeist.

New Albany school chief will receive 20% raise, by Harold J. Adams (Courier-Journal)

The New Albany-Floyd County school board faced down standing-room-only opposition and approved an immediate 20 percent raise for Superintendent Bruce Hibbard during the board’s regular meeting Monday night.

In a 5-2 vote, the board boosted Hibbard’s annual base pay by $28,500 to $170,500 and extended his contract by two years through the 2014-2015 school year. The pact also includes a $10,000 bonus for the current school year to be paid on July 1.

Hibbard’s new annual compensation package is $189,400, including previous deferred compensation of $12,000 and monthly stipends of $500 for a vehicle and $75 for a cellphone.

Board members Rebecca Gardenour and Lee Cotner voted against the raise, citing a continuing budget crunch in the district. “According to our financial officers, we still need to make at least $2.8 million in cuts,” Gardenour said.

“So the bottom line is we cannot afford to give our superintendent a raise at this time,” she said to a hearty round of applause from a board room packed with hundreds of people.

Cotner called Hibbard “an incredible talent” who has improved academic performance in the schools. “However there’s an economic reality … that is we’re spending more money than we’re taking in,” Cotner said. “In that environment I can’t support a pay raise at this time.”

Hibbard has presided over the closing of four elementary schools, the laying off of dozens of teachers, the elimination of certified teachers in elementary art, music and physical education classes, the outsourcing of custodial work and the reduction of benefits for classroom aides, all in an effort to close a yawning deficit.

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