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Offers solution to Lindbergh budget crunch


July 06, 2005 - To the editor:

After reading the June 23 edition of the Call, I wonder what has happened to the idea of leadership in this area.

Sunset Hills chooses shops over homeowners. The Mehlville Fire Protection District was a cash cow for administrators, and now we have the mismanagement of the Lindbergh School District.

The Call's coverage of school board events is excellent. In one move, the board grants performance-based raises to the superintendent and his top lieutenants and creates two new administrative jobs. In another move, a budget shortfall will require the elimination of 11 teachers and certain classes.

For Superintendent (Jim) Sandfort to make $172,500 plus expenses in the coming year is ridiculous. This is a school district, not a company. When did public schools start paying bonuses?

Using information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for a superintendent of a school district is $75,640. For the St. Louis area, the average salary is $76,290.

So Lindbergh overpays its superintendent $96,210. The average chief executive officer in the St. Louis area only makes $135,290.

I would like to propose the following solution to the budget crunch and save the teachers and the programs. Don't hire the two new directors and cut the salary of this superintendent and the assistant superintendents to the average for this area. Alone this action would save about $500,000; I am sure that the rest of the budget shortfall could be found.

One final suggestion for the board to consider: Stop paying employees of public entities bonuses to do their job.

C. Joseph Nower

Sunset Hills

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