Troubling trends in Region 1 school administration
The superintendent seeks to discontinue basing assessments for her pay on student enrollment. Instead, she advocates dividing her pay costs evenly among the district’s seven schools, independent of their sizes or instructional particularities. Ms. Chamberlain’s rational for this scheme is that the descriptive duties of her superintendence are the same for all schools.
This brings to mind personal experience. I once was the chief pilot and director of operations for a small company’s flight department. A friend of mine held the same position for a large international airline. The difference was that he was paid at least 10 times more than I was. Since the descriptive duties were the same, why the difference in pay?
Until now, I would have thought the answer was obvious. Like everyone in leadership or management positions, we were not paid to accomplish the subsidiary tasks of our positions. We were recruited and compensated in accordance with the scale and complexity of our responsibilities. It is not that subsidiary tasks were or are immaterial; the completion of them was a precondition for our being entrusted with our respective responsibilities.
I cannot say whether the above is business school doctrine, but it was understood at every place I have worked, whether I was a boss or reported to a superior.
The current arrangement for the shared cost of employing the Region 1 superintendent is tied to the enrollments of the seven schools. It is, in effect, per capita taxation and is, over time and as a practical matter, one of the fairest and most efficient ways to pay for or distribute resources.
This is why we find it in effect in almost every public or private arena where services are provided to groups of people.
Ordinarily, I would expect the aggregate responsibilities of the superintendent, the most senior and highly paid employee of the school district, to be the basis for his or her salary. I find it sad and disappointing, however, that Ms. Chamberlain has such a diminished perspective of her job that compensation is viewed as a kind of piecework pay for a laundry list of taskings.
Louis G. Timolat
The writer is a former first selectman and a current member of the Board of Finance.