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Despite generally good salaries, 85% of faculty at Ben Franklin is said to favor unionizing

Faculty at Ben Franklin, the city's academically most competitive public high school, are pondering whether to unionize.

The Lens

Whether to join a teacher union is being pondered at Ben Franklin, the city's most academically acclaimed public high school.

With a public hearing scheduled Thursday on the faculty drive to unionize Benjamin Franklin High School, salaries are sure to be a salient concern — in particular discrepancies in pay among staff with seemingly similar backgrounds.

The discrepancies occur because, though Franklin publishes a pay scale, salaries are subject to one-on-one negotiation that hinges on more than degrees and seniority. All told, about 60 percent of Franklin’s faculty draw salaries that depart from the scale — some higher, some lower.

Charter schools, by law, are free from many of the rules that bind traditional public schools, including rules about hiring and compensation. While traditional schools typically adhere to a preset pay scale, Franklin’s chief executive, Timothy Rusnak, can negotiate adjusted pay packages. That lets him offer competitive bids for teachers, including personnel with specialized degrees or training in a subject area, Rusnak said.

Tweaking official pay scales is common practice among charters and private schools, according to Bryan Hassel, co-director of the North Carolina-based education policy firm Public Impact.

“Many charter schools use that flexibility to win over a recruit, or to keep someone who’s got an offer somewhere else. So it’s a very commonly used flexibility,” said Hassel, who has researched charter school hiring practices. That said, Hassel believes school leaders should tell teachers what the rules are, up-front.

While the consensus among Franklin teachers seems to be that Rusnak has the right to set salaries, some faculty members have contended that the advertised salary schedule is misleading.

About 40 percent of Franklin’s 45 teachers are paid in line with the pay scale, according to compensation and qualifications information made available to The Lens (posted below).* Of the 27 teachers whose salaries depart from the scale, 15 are paid higher than scale, while 12 get lower salaries.

In compiling a statistical overview of Franklin’s salaries, The Lens didn’t count part-time teachers or those who have administrative roles outside the classroom.

“We want equality in the way that people are paid, and to have it not be based on arbitrary decisions or favoritism,” said Greg Swanson, a 12-year English teacher.

Franklin has long been well-regarded; it’s the city’s highest performing high school and it repeatedly ranks among the best high schools in the state and nation. It’s also a magnet for veteran teachers. More than half the faculty has 10 or more years of public-school experience, according to Franklin records. Other teachers may have additional years of experience as instructors in colleges or private secondary schools.

HOW FACULTY SALARIES ARE SET

Rusnak, who made close to $172,000 this year, said he retains a pay scale because longtime public-school teachers expect one as they contemplate applying for jobs at Franklin. It’s a starting point for negotiations, he said – not something set in stone. And he makes that clear to teachers, as Hassel recommends. “You know what the score is; you know when you are coming in,” Rusnak said.

Rusnak said he sometimes asks a candidate how much he thinks he should be paid at Franklin, then counters with a lower offer, which the prospective hire can take or leave.

If anything, the scale promotes transparency, he argued.

“It can’t be arbitrary if I say, ‘Here’s where I think you should be [on the scale]; here’s where you think you should be, and let’s go from there.’”

Swanson, who has a master’s degree in education, said he arrived at Franklin with nine years of experience, but was hired at a fourth-year teacher’s salary. He said Rusnak’s explanation was that the school was short of resources that year.

“I needed a job desperately. They made the offer, and I kind of had to take it,” Swanson said. In subsequent years, he negotiated his way up to par and now makes about $52,000, scale for an eleventh-year teacher with a master’s degree.

What teachers are ultimately offered depends on a number of factors, Rusnak said. “It’s need. It’s talent. It’s budget. It’s what we project.”

In Louisiana, traditional public school teachers transferring from district to district receive full credit for their experience, as do those coming from out-of-state schools. Private school teachers receive credit after they move to traditional public school districts.

But those rules don’t apply in charter schools. In time, Rusnak tries to bring lower-cost hires up to where they should fall on the scale, he said.

SOME HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS MAKE MORE

Swanson and other teachers said conversations about their salaries began after teachers started to compare résumés. Rusnak argued that these comparisons are often “apples to oranges and oranges to apples.”

Timothy Rusnak

Timothy Rusnak

Because Franklin strives to offer a challenging curriculum, when it comes to compensation a teacher’s content knowledge may make more of a difference than years of service, Rusnak said. A physics teacher with a master’s degree in a specific subject area might be paid more than someone with a master’s degree in education.

As an example Rusnak mentioned a recent hire named Michael Masterson, a math and computer science teacher. Though Masterson is in his first year at Franklin, he’s been teaching, on and off, since the mid-1980s in private school and college. He has a master’s degree in physics and lower-level degrees in both physics and math.

As a result, Masterson came in making about $55,000 a year, a salary equivalent to what a 14-year Franklin teacher with a more general master’s might make.

“Mike’s a very specialized, niche kind of guy, and it’s what we needed at the time,” Rusnak said.

But other teachers with specialized degrees get less than scale. Science teacher Sally Spahn, for example, has a doctorate in ecology, a master’s degree in biology, and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Her 22 years of university and private-school experience should be worth $59,675 a year, according to the pay scale, but she makes $56,875.

Spahn declined to talk with The Lens when contacted by email. Organizers said she is not among the 85 percent of Franklin teachers who support unionization.

Until recently, teacher Stephen Pearce was paid about $16,000 lower than scale. The school has since settled a payment dispute with him and is now paying him on scale, at $64,500. Rusnak omitted Pearce in his response to The Lens’ public-records request but provided it when The Lens asked after this story was published.

Masterson, ironically, is part of that group. Yes, Rusnak can set pay as he sees fit to attract nontraditional teachers, but “that doesn’t mean that the capability should be misused,” Masterson said.

OTHER GRIPES BEHIND UNION DRIVE

Though discrepancies from the pay scale are frequent, it lets some Franklin teachers top out at salary levels higher than are available to their counterparts in traditional Orleans public schools.

Scale allows the most senior teacher at Franklin to earn $64,500, depending on her degrees. Pay for a teacher at a traditional Orleans Parish School Board teacher tops out at about $60,400. The pay scale at traditional schools run directly by the Orleans Parish School Board — Franklin is an OPSB charter — reaches its peak in 29 years of experience, but Franklin’s salaries keep climbing until the 31st year of seniority. It’s a way to attract and keep veteran teachers, Rusnak said.

Franklin teachers say salaries aren’t the only motive behind the drive to unionize. They complain that their contracts aren’t renewed until the end of the year, when it’s too late to find another job. Teachers have been let go abruptly in the past, Masterson said, and some believe those decisions have been unfair.

Franklin teachers interested in unionizing intend to do so under the aegis of United Teachers of New Orleans (UTNO), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. UTNO’s ranks were decimated by the state takeover of failing schools after Hurricane Katrina and OPSB’s decision to fire all its teachers. Like many teacher unions, UTNO had been criticized for protecting incompetent teachers from termination.

Franklin’s board of directors will vote on the unionizing issue May 15, a week after Thursday’s public hearing.

Ben Franklin teachers’ salaries

*Correction: Ben Franklin High School didn’t include one employee in its response to The Lens’ public-records request. The omitted employee was Stephen Pearce. CEO Timothy Rusnak said he didn’t include it because Pearce recently settled a payment dispute with the school. The school also provided an incorrect salary for Jane Maher. 

And the education levels of at least five teachers were incorrectly listed in the school’s records, which affected their position on the pay scale.

The story and spreadsheet have been updated and corrected. (May 8, 2014; June 6, 2014)

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  • Clay

    Wow. Engrossing read. Thanks.

  • Reborn

    A fair pay scale is common in public sector work. It is a formal agreement to fair compensation. Charter schools are public schools, and while charter schools do have more flexibility in managing things, departing from the pay scale should not be among them. The few thousand dollars saved is simply not worth the bitterness and the decline of morale that are engendered by lowballing some and handsomely rewarding others in our line of public sector work.

  • Jodee Pulizzano

    The idea that forming a union would limit the flexibility that is available at charter schools is false. We are not looking for a “traditional” union contract which would tie the hands of administrators to offer employees alternative forms of compensation such as for specialized degrees or experience. Charter contracts are negotiated on a school by school basis and are tailored to encompass the uniqueness of the school. Teacher voice should be included in the discussion around building fair and equitable policies regarding compensation. We want fairness- not the unknown. We want to move forward cooperatively and transparently using fair practices that we have all agreed are in the best interest of Franklin.

  • Jodee Pulizzano

    The idea
    that forming a union would limit the flexibility that is available at charter
    schools is false. We are not looking for a “traditional” union contract which
    would tie the hands of administrators to offer employees alternative forms of
    compensation such as for specialized degrees or experience. Charter contracts
    are negotiated on a school by school basis and are tailored to encompass the
    uniqueness of the school. Teacher voice should be included in the discussion
    around building fair and equitable policies regarding compensation. We want
    fairness- not the unknown. We want to move forward cooperatively and
    transparently using fair practices that we have all agreed are in the best
    interest of Franklin.

  • Have TEACHER UNIONS ever improved charter schools or public schools as a whole?

    Next, there is far more to Teacher Compensation than a resume, “years of experience”, or an advanced degree; and that’s not only true in schools, but also other professions like finance, healthcare, service, maintenance, agriculture, tech, etc..

    Every teacher is different and to UNIONIZE would be to say that teachers can be a manufactured on an assembly line and categorized by just their resume, master’s or PhD degrees or years of experience.

    Teacher voice should be included in the discussion around building fair and equitable policies regarding compensation.

    A) TALK(Teacher Voice) is not the same as RESULTS in the CLASSROOM.

    B) ADVANCED DEGREES on RESUMES are not the same as RESULTS in the CLASSROOM.

    C) YEARS of EXPERIENCE is not the same as RESULTS in the CLASSROOM.

  • Reborn

    Au contraire, Ahcontraire. Your results-oriented, performance-based view of the teaching profession shows that you view education through a business model lens. The goal of education is NOT that kids pass corporate standardized tests, but that they become successful and responsible citizens who are willing to give back to society to make the world a better place for all. The fact that charter schools are public schools funded with tax dollars demands that pay be fair and not subject to the whims of an administrator. Would you pay a fireman more if he puts out more fires? Would you pay a policeman more if he issues more tickets? Would you pay a soldier more if he kills more of the enemy? Public service is different than private sector work. It follows a different set of rules.

  • Would you pay a fireman more if he puts out more fires?

    Yes, they should get some form of compensation if they actually did that but when have you ever heard of a fireman, or a team of firemen, actually put out significantly more fires than than others firemen? Maybe there are some stories about wild fires, but again and there are forms of recognition.

    Would you pay a
    policeman more if he issues more tickets?

    Catches more criminals and makes community a safety place, why not pay more? Some police are actually a lot better than others.

    Would you pay a soldier more
    if he kills more of the enemy?

    Soldiers get compensated for results with awards and promotions.

    The fact there are charter schools and organizations like Teach for America (TFA) shows that “public service” and “their different set of rules” didn’t adequately perform the service they promised to the public that they were paid to do.

  • John

    So if I am reading your comment right “Justice” your answer when things are not going well at a school is for all the faculty to quit and work somewhere else…”cus that will show em” yeah thanks for your “brilliant” insight…unfortunately that is the answer many charter teachers have chosen which leads to the ridiculous turnover schools expereince each year. And who loses out?- the students becuase instead of fixing the problem we let the problem fester and continue only with a new crop of teachers each year.
    I applaud what the teachers at Franklin are doing. They value their school and their students and they are willing to put up with all the criticisms that are heaped upon them from folks like you. They have decided to SOLVE the problems at their school rather than run away from them.
    Bye Felicia!

  • Budd

    Why are you yelling?

    I think that you are missing the point of unionization… creating a collective voice via unionization or some other cooperative organization is not meant to say that the individuals in the collective are all interchangeable. It is meant to build a unified response to issues that are particular to the context of the effort and support the greater good.

    Considering unions in the new charter school world is different than the older more national unions you may be accustomed to demonizing. ‘Reborn’ is spot on when s/he mentions the whims of an administrator, or taking it a step further the whims of some school board in a charter setting. One misunderstood motion by a board or one short-sighted administrative decision could sink a school like this. There is no longer a larger district to compensate for uninformed decisions.

    The success of a charter these days depends on a unified vision for the school, and for most of the staff, faculty and parents to agree on the primary goal– educating our children via the mission of the particular school. Presenting a single voice representing a plurality of teachers in a school district of one is vital to success. There will never be total consensus in organizations like this, but having a union to present unified positions from the teachers in matters of policy and direction will improve the outcomes.

  • creating a collective voice via unionization or some other cooperative organization is not meant to say that the individuals in the collective are all nterchangeable. It is meant to build a unified response to
    issues that are particular to the context of the effort and support the greater good.

    That might have been good for a factory worker doing the same thing over and over again.

    Yet, teaching is far far different and much more difficult to quantify then an assembly worker using a pneumatic screw driver to install a screw.

    The success of a charter these days depends on a unified vision for the school, and for most of the staff, faculty and parents to agree on the primary goal

    UNIFIED VISION versus INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTABILITY
    Just because a UNION get paid the same, doesn’t mean all the members in a UNION put in the same effort, make the correct decisions, or produce the same results needed to achieve the unified vision.

    Every teacher is different and every class is different, from year to year.

    If you need a collective voice just to state a message, then your message is not resonating with the higher ups for some reason.

    Now what could that “message” really be that some teachers want to get across to achieve a UNIFIED VISION?

  • scotchirish

    Good enough for government work.

  • nickelndime

    CHARTER UNIONIZATION: FRANKLIN’s CEO RUSNAK says that he has the power and the latitude to negotiate individualized salary packages (interpreted as, nothing written in the FRANKLIN “charter” to define/limit the CEO’s powers, i.e., board discretion, etc.). Well, if that is true, then I can see why 85% of this particular faculty would consider “actual” unionization. I am not talking about leaning in the direction (e.g., Morris Jeff). TWO QUESTIONS do spring to mind: (1) What are other charters’ teaching personnel waiting for? and (2) What about those charter schools, specifically, those authorized by the OPSB, whose written charters go so far as to mandate the pay scale that is to be applied in paying “teachers” and “administrators” (!?!) Individuals waltz in and out of these nonprofit 501(c)(3) charter board positions and act like there is no histrorical perspective – all ready to apply their expertise and enthusiasm into reinventing the wheel. Why does the OPSB and its 6-figure salaried Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools turn a blind eye to what is on the books (and written in the charters) for its charter schools whose founding members have gone so far has to define administrative structures, credentials, and pay scale for its certified/licensed (d/b/a EDUCATORS) personnel? Has almost (!) everyone lost sight of the academic professional premise under which schools (all public schools, including charters) were formed and supposed to operate? And, I am not giving the State/BESE a free ride on this this either. Look at the fiasco over at Lycee. Same type of issues: Ignore the written charter. Ignore the founders. Charter schools’ administrative and non-teaching personnel salaries are out of control (ranging from $160,000 – $225,000, and by now, may be even more). These nonprofit boards (and administrators) have attorneys on speed-dial. External auditors are like defense attorneys who specialize in presenting their clients in the most favorable light, and they all know they are as guilty as hell! By and large, teachers are a very patient and trusting group (except maybe those at Franklin – LOL), however, even they are beginning to sense that something is wrong.

  • Camly Tram

    What does it mean by years of experience? Number of years teaching in general or teaching at Franklin?

  • ProfRavenwood

    Is it impossible to imagine a scenario in which a charter school principal ignores or violates that charter, but because he is also the information conduit to the Board, there is no effective oversight?

  • nickelndime

    CHARTER UNIONIZATION: It is in the best interests of highly-paid, bureaucratic, typical charter school administrators (CEOs, COOs, CAOs, CFOs…) to ignore and/or violate original (written) charters if it means that their salaries will decrease. That is, IF these administrators even know what came before them – the history! Expensive legal counsel tells these people that ignorance is a blessing (be thankful for what you DON’T know) and is protected (which encourges even more ignorance). In cases where the CEO (is not ignorant of the facts and the written charter) AND is the driving force in the organization, e.g., Lusher comes to mind, then said CEO does not have to ignore/pretend/imagine/manipulate anything, because all of the information has already been “fixed” from the start. Basically, what we have then is an expensive, political animal who controls various functions, including but not limited to buying up real estate so it can be demolished, etc. etc. etc. AND is untouchable – by the State anyway. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it! So, why not do IT and operate in that $166,000 – $225,000 salary range? BACK TO FRANKLIN: Surely, when Carol C. put on hip boots and went into Franklin High School post-Katrina, with a vision of reopening Franklin as a charter school, she did not imagine how quickly the business/corporate perspective would take over and seize (claim as their own doing) the work of others. So now, Franklin teachers are eyeing unionization! Again I ask, who does the Franklin Board pay legal fees to, and I will tell you where this is going. FRANKLIN HIGH is a member of the EASTBANK COLLABORATIVE OF CHARTER SCHOOLS.

  • Concerned taxpayer

    That’s a great question. My understanding is that traditional public school boards only recognize years of teaching in other public schools. No credit is given to teachers coming from a private school or the private sector at large. However, some public school boards have recognized private school experience.

    As far as I know from a Ben Franklin source, some teachers have received credit for their private school experience and some have not. Hence the current mess. To make things worse, some teachers have received credit for just a fraction of their public school teaching years. Imagine someone with 25 years experience in public schools realizing that she is being paid at the 6 year level at Ben Franklin! The Ben Franklin pay scale indicates years of experience and not steps like most charter schools do. Steps allow the principal to start an employee at any level he/she chooses. Because more and more teachers are realizing that they are being screwed, I would not be surprised if law suits started popping up. Rightfully so I might add.

  • Jessica Williams

    Hi Camly,

    I got the impression from speaking with Dr. Rusnak that for some folks, “years of experience” means the number of years they’ve taught in general. But for other folks, it’s the number of years they’ve taught at Franklin. For example: Mike Masterson is listed in the school’s records as having “0” years of experience – though he’s taught in other settings for years – because it’s his first year at Franklin. But Greg Swanson is now correctly listed as having 12 years of teaching experience, though he spent nine years elsewhere.

  • Jessica Williams

    Concerned taxpayer: I found that there were some teachers who received credit for private-school experience: Sally Spahn spent a number of years in private-school and college classrooms before coming to Franklin in 2010. But she is on the scale as having 22 years of experience, not four. Masterson doesn’t have the years – he’s listed at zero – but he’s getting what a 14-year teacher would get. So it depends on what Rusnak offers and what teachers accept when they walk in the door, it seems.

  • Concerned taxpayer

    Just wondering: Now that the Board is aware of major issues what steps have been taken to address them? If they are serious about finding solutions they should not wait till the union has been recognized.
    Are Ben Franklin teachers going to have their contracts before the end of the school year? That does not seem hard to do.

  • disqus_pn1er9XdzT

    We’re having a conversation here about whether salaries for anyone who receives public funding should be scaled, regardless of performance. The fact that police, fire, and soldiers were cited as examples of scaled salaries is a prime example of why schools should be able to set individual pay based on performance: the job of teacher is more technical, requires more education, and the results make more of a difference in society. Giving more tickets is not synonymous with kids learning more. Teaching so that kids learn takes more skill than writing tickets. It’s a complicated profession, and research shows that good teachers make a huge impact in student life outcomes, in fact the research shows that good teaching is THE factor that determines college attainment. Because good teaching requires more than just showing up for work and doing a good job while there, it is, in my opinion, outside the boundary of what we should be using a set salary scale for. Teachers must have content knowledge, study teaching technique, use daily feedback (in the form of data and coaching) to teach the same kids the next day so they master the material. Yes, we use tests to determine this, but the teaching profession has always used performance tests to determine the performance of the students and, thus, the teacher. There is no reason why paying teachers more based on their job performance is unfair. No one believes that it is unfair for the supervisor to set the salary of a lawyer, doctor, or insurance salesman based on performance. Why is it considered unfair for a teacher to have their salary based on their performance? Schools now are held accountable for results, and to get those results leaders need to be able to recruit, reward, and retain talented staff. Depriving leaders of the ability to compensate their staff based on the value they bring to the school completely handicaps those leaders. We are thankfully moving to an era where putting in your time is not the set point for compensation for teachers. Instead, performance and outcomes for kids should be the basis for teacher salary, and denying principals that right is ridiculous.

  • John

    The conversation is not whether to allow or forbid a particular form of compensation, as any form of compesation can be considered and negotiated in a union contract. Instead the conversation centers around having an actual procedure for making compensation decisions. As it stands now at Franklin, the Principal makes decisions about compensation without any clear guidleines and as far as can been seen, at his sole discretion.
    Teachers are not currently being paid based on merit. Teachers are not being paid based on years of experience. Teachers are not being paid based on student performance outcomes. Teachers are not being paid based on their level of competancy.
    Teachers are being paid based on the will of Dr. Timothy Rusnak.
    No one knows what criteria, if any, he is using to determine salary. A system like this (if it can even be called a “system”) is bad for any industry. Standards or at least a rationale in place for making salary decisions that everyone understands and has agreed to is a necessity. Without a rationale or standards in place, each employee is placed in a conundrum, in which an incredible amount of favoritism dictates their professional career. As it stands now we don’t know if teachers are making their particular salary because they are good at their job, or if they make their salary because they are Dr. Rusnak’s fishing buddy. A system which places the individual teacher at the mercy of another person’s likes or dislikes is bad for staff morale, and bad for the students.
    I agree with the comment above, “performance and outcomes for kids should be the basis for teacher salary”. However, right now at Franklin that is not the basis for salary; maybe this union movement will cement that type of salary structure in place at Franklin.

  • ProfRavenwood

    Franklin teachers are calling for a clear pay scale to create a “salary floor”, so that teachers with difficult personal circumstances (dependent caregiver, lots of student loan debt, etc) aren’t handed a “take it or leave it” offer that grossly underpays them. (Doesn’t sound like any of them would object to Dr Rusnak donating some of his $172k for performance bonuses!) But higher pay seems to be a “bogeyman” in this case.

    Listening to them last Thursday night, it sounds like the majority of the Franklin faculty seem far less interested in money than respect. No attorney would countenance a doctor telling him how to do his job and no accountant would put up with a doctor peering over her shoulder- why should we expect teachers with graduate degrees and doctorates to put up with the same? Maybe the Board should actually listen to their teachers, rather than people who have little connection to Franklin?

  • disqus_pn1er9XdzT

    The suggestion that there be a standard and that this standard can’t be at the whim of the supervisor– these might be good ideas, but I want to point out that we don’t have this expectation for any other industry. We don’t create guidelines for law firm partners, Subway sandwich shop owners, day care providers, or music venue owners. Why should we have a different guideline for school principals? They are held accountable for getting their job done with the budget they have. If they mistreat teachers or don’t offer competitive salaries, they will lose their teachers. Especially in this system of many charter schools individually run, teachers who don’t like their experience can show that with their feet. They can go work for another school with better benefits or higher salaries. They can negotiate their salary in this system, and see what amount they can get for the value they bring to a school. I do think the suggestion that there is a “floor,” or a minimum salary scale is a good idea (it also helps school leaders stay consistent with salary baselines) but I’m opposed to any system that tells principals a formula under which they should determine a teacher’s pay. We don’t tell the owner of clothing store the formula they should use to determine their employee’s pay–we let them pay people what they think the market will demand and what they believe their employees deserve. Why should we do something different with teachers? Are they in a different category of work?

    I would argue that they have vastly more complicated jobs, vastly more responsibilities, and vastly more factors determining their effectiveness. We have no way of determining the impact a teacher makes on a school by seeing their degree and years experience. A principal would know that, and would be able to compensate employees for all of the things they bring to a school, whether that is tangible (like test scores) or intangible (like leadership, like extra time outside of school, like really effective mentoring). Unionizing strips schools from rewarding great performance, great effort, and effective employees and treats everyone as if they are the same. Every business owner would tell you that’s no way to run a place of work.

    And I agree about respect– teachers totally deserve to be treated like the professionals they are. That’s why printing all of their salaries in this publication is wrong. We wouldn’t demean any other profession this way, and just because these employees get paid with public dollars doesn’t mean the public is interested in (or should have the right to see) an individual’s private compensation. The Lens could have printed these salaries differently, but apparently, the indignity of having your salary printed is just a part of the special awesomeness of being paid with public dollars. Not only does everyone think your job is comparable to “public servant” jobs like police and DMV tellers, but everyone has the right to see and comment on how much money you make. If the Lens is attempting to support teachers, they could have done this a different way.

  • nickelndime

    FRANKLIN’S RUSNAK’S SALARY GOES UP – AT WHOSE EXPENSE? And what is the message to direct-run OPSB school administrators (principals) who DO NOT have the power to determine teachers’ salaries (thank you OPSB Central Office!), much less individualized ones, such as those determined by the likes of charter school CEOs, like Rusnak? Well, maybe these NOPS principals (e.g., BABY BEN, MCDONOGH 35…) should voice their concerns to Acting Superintendent Stan Smith that they need more power to remain competitive! (WHAT IS THAT YOU SAY? YOU SAY THESE PRINCIPALS ARE DAMN HAPPY THEY HAVE A JOB POST-KATRINA – and luckily Robin Morris was one of them because she was picked up by Franklin High?). Seems that they fared better than the 1000s who were fired by the OPSB. BACK TO FRANKLIN: Exactly what, besides credentials, experience, and licensure, factor into CEO Rusnak’s decisions (YES/NO HIRE/FIRE RENEW/DO NOT RENEW SIGN HERE-HELLO/SIGN HERE-GOODBYE…): Wind conditions? Good day/Bad day? Good CEO/Bad CEO? Temperature? Season? Weather? Duris Holmes’ or any given board member’s opinion on any given day? Day of the week? Gender? Home conditions? Hobbies? Robin Morris’ opinion? Budget? Dice? Staff lottery? Actually, if one looks at the Salary Table (which already shows signs of tampering by FRANKLIN administration, I would say that the professionals are being grossly underpaid while the administrators are being grossly overpaid and are performing poorly.

  • ProfRavenwood

    What seems striking to me is the presumption that professional educators are too entranced by the “lure” of a union to think critically and evaluate what’s in their own best interest.