Consultant studying school system salaries

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
A consultant began Tuesday surveying Hartselle school system's salary schedules to insure its employees are being paid fairly compared to similar school systems.
The Hartselle Board of Education voted July 1 to hire independent consultant John Hinton to complete the survey in a two-week period for a fee of $1,250. Chairman Ronnie Abercrombie said Hinton was one of several consultants recommended by Sandra Sims-deGraffenried, executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards.
The board rejected a new salary schedule and principal contract proposal from Superintendent Dr. Lee Hartsell at the meeting. Abercrombie said a new salary schedule will need to be in place before the system's annual budget is presented to the state by July 30.
"Mr. Hinton lost Friday (July 2) and Monday (July 5) to the Fourth of July holiday, so he'll be running tight on time," Abercrombie said. "But we hope to have the completed survey in our hands July 15 for review and consideration."
Abercrombie said he considers the salary review money well spent since Hartselle's school system has never made a full salary comparison before.
"All we're trying to do is make sure what we pay our people is inline with other systems our size," Abercrombie said. "Individual comparisons have been made in our system before, but nothing like this. It's kind of a necessary housekeeping and I would like to see it reevaluated on a regular basis, roughly every five years."
Abercrombie said he feels confident Hinton's survey will yield an unbiased report since he will conduct the review via the Internet and will not come directly into contact with anyone from Hartselle's school system, nor does the Tuscaloosa-based consultant have any known contacts within the school system.
"I have had many requests for this type of survey since I came onto the board two years ago," Abercrombie said. "It's something that also needs to be done before Dr. Hartsell retires in March because the survey will review salaries and expenses at the central office. Over 4 percent of the school system's budget is being spent through the central office, which appears to be top heavy as far as central offices go. It's one of the highest in the state, and that needs to be looked at."
Abercrombie said he hopes Hartsell can review the salary survey and make suggestions for reducing the central office's expenses.

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