Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Why address Northampton superintendent compensation gap but not that of teachers?

To the editor:

As a parent in the Northampton school district, I was troubled to learn in a recent Gazette article that the School Committee is considering a substantial raise in salary for Superintendent Brian Salzer.

Salzer is paid $128,500. If the School Committee elects to raise Salzer’s salary to the statewide average of $152,538, it would effectively be giving him a raise of 20 percent.

By comparison, Northampton’s teachers earn an average of $57,000; the statewide average is over $70,000. That is also a 20 percent difference. Last year, Northampton’s teachers received no raise in salary; the current year’s raise stands at 1 percent, not even enough to overcome the rate of inflation. At the same time, there have been cuts to school staff that provide vital educational services to our children.

There also have been such significant cuts to the budget for school supplies that most of our teachers pay for their students’ basic materials from their own pockets.

How is there money to increase Salzer’s $128,500 salary by $24,000 but nothing for basic school supplies for our children?

I am a proud citizen of Northampton. My family chose to live here because this city has been a model for the kind of values that can truly move us forward: cooperation, mutual respect, tolerance and a commitment to equality in all its forms. These are times that call for Superintendent Salzer to share with us our continuing dedication to these values.

Do we need a school superintendent earning more than two to three times what most of our teachers earn? The answer, of course, is clear.

In lieu of a salary increase for the superintendent, I suggest that the School Committee allocate that $24,000 back into the district school budget. If Salzer believes, as I do, that Northampton should continue to teach the values upon which our community rests, let him donate his raise to providing those school supplies which have been axed from the budget.

Rania Spade

Northampton

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