The board, in a 6-4 vote, followed the recommendations of a Wilmington firm that is conducting a salary audit for the system and raised the salaries that are paid the assistant superintendents. The board also created a well-paid position of special assistant for Hunt.
As is always the case when public salaries are raised or positions created, the public watches with a jaundiced eye. Some will say that the money would be better spent on teacher salaries or providing school supplies.
But if the school board is going to contract with a private firm to make recommendations concerning the organizational chart and the pay schedule, then the best way to ensure wasted money is to kick aside those recommendations. The board placed its faith in the firm with its hiring, and in the middle or the end of the process is not the time to say never mind.
It should also be noted that the school system has saved quite a few dollars in salaries as two assistant superintendent positions became vacant last summer and a third one became so this month.
Now is a critical time for Hunt. Since becoming superintendent on July 1, he has been saddled with a central office that has been woefully shorthanded, and poor pay has been cited as a reason for defections. School officials have said that it is difficult to promote from within because the best candidates, often principals at larger high schools, could face a pay cut with a move to the central office.
Hunt, as he tries to fill these key positions, now can offer a competitive salary that should enable him to find qualified people.
Hunt has one of the most difficult - and critical - jobs in the county, and the school board is obligated to give him every tool, within reason, that it can to help him succeed. We believe paying competitive salaries is reasonable.