So how much are school employees paid?

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 28, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
The chairman of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education says he’s open to talks of posting the salaries of school system employees online. But he doesn’t necessarily agree with the idea.
“We know it’s public information and we don’t want to buck that,” Dr. Jim Emerson said Friday. “I just hate to see the time, energy and effort it takes to put it online.”
Mike Caskey, a newcomer to the board, is requesting the topic be added to the February agenda.
“That’s really just part of what I want to discuss,” he said. “I really want to discuss ways we can have a more open, transparent system.”
Caskey’s request comes after Rowan County added a database to its website with salary and wage information for all of its employees.
“I think we kind of have an advantage now that the county has done it first,” he said. “We can see how it goes for them and see if they can give us any direction.”
Emerson said he’s not sure what kind of work goes into creating a database, but he thinks comparing the county and the school district is looking at apples and oranges.
“They don’t have half as many employees as we do,” he said.
Caskey said making the information available on the school system’s website will make it more accessible.
That’s something, he says, is important as the school system braces for deep state budget cuts.
“We need to make it easier for people to go out and look for this stuff,” he said.
Although public records law requires the school system to provide the information to anyone who requests it, Caskey said that doesn’t mean they are required to post it, but he would like to see that change.
“I’m just one of seven people on the board. The other six might not want to do it,” he said. “I just want to discuss it.”
Emerson said posting salaries to the website could breed resentment among employees. “Some guy is going to be upset that he doesn’t make as much as so and so,” he said.
Emerson said he doesn’t see the point of adding a database when the information is already available.
“Anybody that is curious enough they have accesss, they can go down there and ask to see it,” he said. “I don’t think there is any great dark secret.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.