ARPS School Superintendent Maria Geryk
Amherst School Superintendent Maria Geryk has regained the coveted #1 position as highest paid town employee (technically the "schools" are a legally separate entity) at $158,000 up from $147,000 and now eclipsing Town Manager John Musante who briefly leapfrogged her last week with his Select Board approved 2% raise bringing him to $150,628.
But you have to wonder what the impact -- using the school's favorite buzzword these days, equity -- would be if all school employees received a 7.5% raise?
Between the Regional and Elementary schools total salary costs in FY15 is $32.5 million, so that generous raise would have cost taxpayers an additional $2,437,500 -- to a school system already sky high in average cost per child to educate: $18,388 per elementary student and $18,026 for Regional student vs state average of $13,636.
Although her current $158,000 salary after 4 years now at the helm only matches exactly the incoming salary for Alberto Rodriguez back in 2009. After an annoying blogger made public a document showing Rodriguez was taking a total of 40 days off in his first year as Superintendent, combined with internal criticism about his management style, Rodriguez parted ways with Amherst after only 8 months.
Geryk is now closing in on the last Superintendent with any longevity, Jere Hochman, hired in 2003 (at just over $130,000). Hochman lasted five years, voluntarily leaving for his old stomping ground Bedford Central School District (N.Y.) with a slight pay increase to $262,000.
When Hochman was first hired his $130,000+ salary raised eyebrows, nowhere more so than the Town Manager at the time Barry Del Castilho. The Select Board suddenly gave Del Castilho a mid-contract raise of $10,000 to sooth his ego.
Town Meeting Annual Warrant 2004
Hwei-Ling Greeney brought an advisory petition to Town Meeting demanding the Select Board roll back the raise. Article #38 passed 81-71, but the Select Board simply ignored the will of Town Meeting.
Of course in 2007 when Town Meeting voted to oppose flying the commemorative flags on 9/11, the Select Board routinely cites that shameful vote for an excuse to keep the flags down 4 out of 5 years.
This past year the Amherst Regional Public Schools have been in disarray over racial incidents, one particularly mishandled event which led to the High School closing down for a day.
And according to the Mass Dept of Elementary & Secondary Education neither the Regional Schools or Elementary Schools are making much progress toward their target goals.
Regional Schools 1-10
Elementary Schools 2-10