Mississippi Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright issued the following press release in response to this JJ story posted yesterday:
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released information Monday to correct misinformation about employee salary increases.
Since July 2014, the MDE has been exempt from the Mississippi State Personnel Board (MSPB) in order to reorganize the department and attract the skilled personnel needed to implement the state’s education reform initiatives. For example, part of the agency reorganization included hiring personnel with specialized skills to provide better services to districts and establishing an Office of Literacy and Office of Early Childhood Education. The department also hired staff to provide technology support, professional development for teachers and administrators and curriculum content support at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
MDE records show that 323 employees received a salary increase. However, of those employees, 227 salary increases were legislatively mandated. Those increases included the teacher pay raise in the state’s four special schools and for teachers who had obtained a higher level of education, adjustments for employees earning less than $30,000 annually, and a raise for school attendance officers.
The salary increases that were not legislatively mandated include 90 MDE staff who applied for higher-skilled and higher-paying jobs and were selected for those new positions and six MDE staff members who received increases based on assuming additional responsibilities.
“To attract and retain high-quality personnel to carry out the state’s education reform efforts, MDE salary levels should match the education, experience and skill level required,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.
Attached is a breakdown of the salary increases by category since July 2014.
“Schools and districts are benefiting from the high-quality professional development, support and services we have been able to offer. Most importantly, student achievement is increasing, which is the ultimate goal of all of our efforts,” Wright said.
Kingfish note: Dr. Wright apparently wants to have her cake and eat it too. She whined in the Clarion-Ledger Sunday that one of the newspaper's reporters did not contact Dr. Wright before writing a story. This correspondent called and emailed MDE yesterday morning. Dr. Wright sat on her bureaucratic butt behind her bureaucratic Berlin Wall and instead sent out a press release at the end of the business day that states "misinformation" was reported. Well, Miss Queen Bureaucrat, one of the reasons why an attempt was made to contact you was to determine if this information was accurate. However, that means you would have had to answer questions, which you obviously did not want to do. Much easier to send out a press release with its own "misinformation".
Keep in mind it was the Governor who cited the raises as reasons for vetoing the bill. Dr. Wright doesn't criticize the Governor, oh no. Heaven forbid a bureaucrat should have some actual backbone. Dr. Wright would rather sit behind her wall and complain about the press while ignoring the press.
One last thing: Dr. Wright didn't mention the $195,000 starting salary in her press release, did she? You know what else is missing? Any mention or discussion of the salaries themselves. She focuses on the number of employees getting raises, not what the raises actually are.