Why no attention on the superintendent?

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 11, 2014

Dear Editor, 

With all the media attention given to our City Manager’s water bill and the County Commissioners on again off again contracts, why has so little attention be paid to the article dealing with our local school superintendent’s substantial pay raise?

“The board also voted unanimously to increase the compensation of Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield. The locally paid supplement earned by Rayfield will increase $14,593 annually, making his total annual salary $163,572.

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“Dr. Rayfield has been here four years, has done exceptionally well, and we are extremely proud of him. He is recognized all throughout the community and all over the state for his quality of work,” said board chairman Dr. Sydney Cochran”

The May 1 Post Searchlight story of Decatur County School System’s College and Career Ready Performance Index data, also known as the CCRP scores did not tell the whole story. The High school score was 64.9% in 2102 and went down to 60.9% for 2013. We were one of the lowest scoring High Schools in SWGA except for Calhoun and Quitman counties.

In 2006 Decatur County had the highest percentage and number of schools in a system of high performing schools/principals in the State of GA — which was data, gathered for the three years prior. It is very frustrating as a citizen and educator to see where the leadership has taken our system and the economic impact it does and will have on our community. This past May, 317 graduated from the high school– when this group was in the 8th grade, there were over 400 students in that class-[DOE 8th grade CRCT data] – that is almost 1/4 of the class disappeared or dropped out— yes, students move out and in, but the data speaks for itself.

The recent article on the increased poverty level in this county also gives rise to the question— where did the BOE get an extra $14,590 a year? Why were other employees that have not seen a pay raised in over four years, over looked? Why did the BOE wait until after the election to change the superintendent’s contract?

In closing I think it only fair to compare salaries of superintends with other systems- the State Superintendent of Schools for GA, Dr John Barge, only makes $125,000, while Muscogee County [Columbus] $130,000, Houston County $187,000 ,Coweta County  $178,000, and Rockdale and Carroll Counties just less than $200,000 [source WALB-TV]. All of these systems have two, three and some four times the number schools we have here.


John H. McRae.