Letter Puts Blame On Free Press
Manhattan School Superintendent Dr. Sharol Little gave the School Board members a letter Wednesday night that explains why her $54,000 pool for administrators salary increases turned out to be more than $200,000. Thursday Dr. Little sent the letter to all 383 employees.
(Please read the Editorial at left for the Free Press response.) The letter:
Board Members:
Many staff members and administrators have expressed concern about the recent article in the Free Press (September 12, 2002) that reported administrative salary raises.  Let me take a few minutes to talk about some of the misleading items in the story as it was presented.
Mr. Brake first requested a list of the administrative salaries that included raises that the Board of Education voted on at their August 21 meeting. Michele Jones, Communication Coordinator, provided him that information. He then asked for the new administrative salaries again this time including fringe benefits. Michele again provided him that information. According to Kansas statute, we cannot ask a person why they are interested in this information or how they will use the information.
The salaries that he listed in his article reflect the 2002 administrative salary, plus any supplemental contracts that an administrator might have (ex. Summer school, grant coordinator, athletic duties - approximately $6,000 when added together) and the fringe benefit (health insurance - 2002 fringe is $3,502.08 per employee). The salaries he lists from previous years do not include supplemental contracts and fringe benefits. So just from that alone, there is a $146,000 difference. Most of the staff of USD 383 (minus instructional aides, bus drivers who work less than 12 months, computer lab aides and employees who work less than 20 per week) have the same opportunity to receive fringe benefits.
Mr. Brake does not qualify in his article what positions people currently hold vs. what positions they held in previous years. He does not talk about changes in responsibilities or education. He also does not address contract days of employment - some administrators are 9 1/2  month employees, some are 12 month employees and some have recently changed from a 9 1/2 month contract to a 12 month contract. Also, some administrators who were being paid from a teachers contract have moved over to an administrator contract.
I used a pool of money ($54,000) in establishing raises for administrators this year. If you add up the reported salary increases from the Free Press for 2002, it equals about $200,000. $146,000 comes from including fringe benefits and supplemental. And you are left with $54,000.
When the Free Press published USD 383 (administration and teacher) salaries in July, he again did not give any narrative as to what the salary figure included, what positions people held in previous years, what educational/length of service milestones people had reached, etc.

It is important for people to remember that we cannot control what is in the paper or on the radio. Once the information has been passed on to a reporter, it is out of our hands. USD 383 will continue to work with the goal of open communications with all of our local media outlets.