On Thursday evening, when the Clay Community School Board of Trustees approved Dr. Dan Schroeder as the new superintendent of schools many of the more than 40 teachers in the audience were stunned at the details surrounding his contract.
Clay County Classroom Teachers' Association President Russ True said the decision was a slap in the face to teachers, who, as of June 1st, started their fourth year without a contract settlement.
"They keep telling us; 'we don't have any money, we don't have any money,' and then they vote (unanimously) to spend $650,000 on one man in the next five years," True said. "This is just going to add to the hard feelings and animosity that so many teachers are feeling right now."
Dr. Schroeder's five-year contract package includes a salary of $110,000 per year, a $20,000 benefit package and a paid teacher's retirement plan.
He will take office on July 1.
"Dr. Schroeder has outstanding credentials," Board President Steve Grigsby said. "He has 11 years experience ... and is currently a practicing superintendent at South Putnam."
Schroeder's credentials didn't impress the angry teachers at an impromptu meeting held in the cafeteria area of the North Clay Middle School.
True said teacher morale sinks lower each time the board votes to spend more money from the "supposedly" cash poor General Fund.
"This is the lowest I've seen the morale of teachers in the more than 20 years I've taught here," True said. "The board could have settled with us for half of what they're going to give the new superintendent.
"The bottom line is this; they voted to spend $650,000 over the next five years on one man instead of settling contract negotiations with the teachers."