Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fayette superintendent Shelton to recommend 5 percent cut in his salary

This from the Herald-Leader:
Amid concerns from the community over a proposed $20 million budget cut, Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton said Wednesday he would recommend that his salary be cut by 5 percent.
Superintendent Tom Shelton and Board member Amanda Ferguson

Shelton, who was paid $254,610 in 2013, according to figures released by school officials last fall, has been responding to criticism after announcements that the 2014-2015 budget would need to be trimmed by $20 million and that positions would be cut.

Fayette School Board Chairman John Price said late Wednesday afternoon that Shelton discussed with him the decision to cut his own pay before proposing it. The pay cut requires the board's approval.

"I support him in that," Price said. "For him to volunteer to take a cut in pay without reducing the number of days worked is good leadership on his part."

Shelton's proposal would reduce his annual salary to $241, 879.50 — a difference of $12,730.50, school district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said.

Deffendall said Shelton would not comment on the matter.

"Dr. Shelton said he didn't do this to seek any publicity," she told the Herald-Leader. "Tom said this was a personal decision and that he just felt like it was the right thing to do."

Shelton's contract with Fayette County Public Schools started in Sept. 1. 2011 and continues to June 30, 2015. Shelton was paid $240,000 when he was hired in 2011. Stu Silberman, Shelton's predecessor, made about $244,000 before he left the district in 2011.

Wednesday's email from Shelton follows a flurry of interest and public outcry about the budget.
In the last week, Shelton has made attempts to respond to parents, teachers and others, including board member Amanda Ferguson, who have been vocal about concerns over impending cuts and what they perceived as a lack of information provided by Shelton.

On Monday, Shelton, citing "distrust and paranoia" of a proposed staffing formula for schools crafted by district officials, pulled a discussion of that policy from the board's agenda that night. He pledged to get public input at a March 6 forum before taking further action.

Parents and teachers have been up in arms over rumors that music, band, orchestra, arts and gifted and talented programs could take the biggest hits. Shelton has said those reports were unfounded, and has said those programs would not be eliminated.

During Monday's school board meeting, Shelton said that public response over the proposed cuts has showed him that people were passionate about what happens in Fayette County Public Schools.
Shelton said that he received more than 1,000 emails over the weekend. Some emails were about the budget. Others were staffing related. Still others were words of encouragement.

"Many were supportive of the direction and focus of the district," he said. "I receive over 400 daily during an average work week. Normally this slows substantially over the weekend but did not last weekend."

Shelton, in an email message to staff provided to the Herald-Leader on Wednesday, said, "We know that we must attempt to absorb as much as possible of the reductions in areas that do not directly affect our schools."

"To that end, we will attempt to share the responsibility for any cuts so that as few employees as possible would lose employment," he said.

Shelton reiterated that he thought the majority of any staffing changes would be handled through attrition. He told reporters on Monday that 300 to 400 employees leave the district voluntarily every year.

Shelton's email Wednesday to the staff said the district will work to reduce "hours and/or days worked for any affected employees before we would eliminate positions."

"To that end, I will personally recommend to our board that my contract salary be lowered by 5 percent effective July 1," Shelton said. "We will still have 95 percent of the resources we have had in the past but will be more efficient and effective in the use of these resources as we work toward equity for all students."

Shelton repeated in the email that he would develop a budget proposal for the school board in May that would minimize any possible negative impact on student services and achievement.

School board member Daryl Love was among those who praised Shelton's voluntary decision to reduce his salary.

"For him, it's leading by example," said Love. "Everybody's going to have to kind of share in the cuts."

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

Now we need the other big earners in Fayette County Schools to follow suit. Lu Young, whom I have seen in my school only once, is paid at 165,000 per year. Will you follow suit, Lu?

Please, pretty please?

Anonymous said...

If Tommy Shelton didn't take the salary cut for publicity, why is it public knowledge? OF COURSE HE DID IT FOR PUBLICTY.

Anonymous said...

OK, so where is the other $19,987,269.50 going to come from (and darn it, better not be from art or music)?

Anonymous said...

This poor guy isn't going to catch a break from anyone. Not sure why folks want to demonize him when it is pretty clear that state and feds have been cutting back support and instead of raising your taxes they have been dipping into reserves which at this point aren't going to sustain the current reductions. Would you have been anymore accepting if he has moved to raise your taxes last year to soften this year's reductions - doubt it. Folks need to start looking at the parameters of the problem instead of try to blame someone just because you don't like his predecessor.

Anonymous said...

Tom shelton leads by example. He is ethical. He is worth every penny of his salary. He cares about kids. He wants teachers to give their opinions. These cuts hurt him more than they hurt the district. He supports teachers. Amanda Ferguson is wrong. Anyone who questions Tom is wrong. Tom Shelton cares about kids. It's about Tom.

Anonymous said...

Tom Shelton is worth every penny. We must not question him. We must obey him. Amanda Ferguson is wrong.We must not listen to her. People who bring up Silberman are eating sour grapes. These people in Central Office are wonderful. If we let teachers go, it is for teh good of the school district.
Charles Smith at Lafayette is wrong. He does not act in the best interest of kids. We must not listen to WKYT or its news reports about the 100 plus club. The people at the Central Office are well paid. They deserve it. They are good for our community.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fayette County Taxpayers,

On behalf of our FCPS, I urge all readers of this discussion board to avoid listening to WKYT television today, March 3, at 6:00 PM.

The so-called 100 plus club is a group of devoted educators who act in the best interests of the "kids" of Fayette County.
Our compensation is just considered all we do to help educators in our school system.

Instead, we invite you to practice a silent boycott of WKYT and turn instrad to our FCPS channel, where we will show you the accomplishments of the district's students.

It's about Kids!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that students are taking matters into their own hands! Add "Save FCPS ARTS" to your "like page" on Facebook.

I think it is great to see Fayette County students standing up for their rights.

It is clear from the way Tom Shelton treated Charles Smoth from Lafayette that he does not want teachers to be give their opinions or know what is going on the District.

Tom and the Bully Pulpit. A disappointing administrator.

Anonymous said...

As a non FCPS educator who reads this blog frequently, I can't help thinking that FCPS district has an institutional culture issue. Seems like folks who contribute to this blog consistently find fault with both current and even previous leadership. Maybe they should consider employment at a district in which they feel more in tune and aligned. I don't think complaining on this blog is going to make the difference you are seeking.

Anonymous said...

I'm at least happy I have the right to complain!

Even in Fayette County Public Schools. And, no, I won't be going to another district. Complaining is seen as somehow an un-American response that does not solve issues. I see it as a healthy way to vent.

As a contributor/complainer, I merely comment on what the news media reports and what is on the discussion board. And, I'm pleased Richard Day, in his own way, allows some of us to complain when he publishes what he does.

Previous leadership in FCPS is not "previous." It is present in our present leadership. Whereas Mr. Silberman was untouchable, Tom Shelton has made some well-documented public errors. Tom Shelton is simply following in the shoes of his successor --- a man with whom he undoubtedly maintains regular contact. When he suddenly says "We are $20 million in the hole and we need to make sacrifices," someone has to speak up and ask questions, and, if need be, complain.

There is indeed much to complain about. And I thank God that Valerie Honecutt has replaced the previous education reporter at the H-L. He didn't want to be negative about FCPS. He was simply content in reporting teachers with DUI's or substance abuse. (He never told us about Melody at Central Office, though --another member of the 100 plus club)

Discussion boards are an open forum. Complainers are welcome here! And so are those who think complainers should go to another district!

Long live this discussion board!

Anonymous said...

Actually my point was that the district seems to have a problem with what appear to be teachers and staff lacking confidence (dare I even say trust) in the district office. I am not sure how a district FCPS size can work to address that.

I understand that being a foil to what is perceived as mismanagement or less than stellar leadership in your opinion is acceptable in this form, but in a tangible sense what do teachers and teacher leaders need to do in order to overcome this divide which some of you bring up often in this forum? It seems like folks want to simplistically put white hats and black hats on various individuals without addressing the larger system and cultural issues.

As I said, I don't serve in FCPS district but I get the sense the it is a much more dynamic system than one which is solely driven by the actions and motivations of the one person who happens to be the in the superintendent's position. You can terminate the entire district office but you are still going to need to come up with 20 grand.

I think the bigger question is why were your elected board members not aware of this budget issue. We want to put a white hat on one of the members because she tries act surprised and to paint the superintendent as a bully but it is her job to know what is going on with the budget more than a spoon feeding of its contents once a year. I don't know the lady or any of the board members but why is she or any of them less culpable or less responsible. Seems like she or any other board member should be just as ashamed to not know this was coming and why. Instead she gets painted as some sort of hero for throwing the superintendent under the bus due to her lack of knowledge about the budget on an ongoing basis. I am pretty sure they voted on past budgets which from what I have heard are as much a precipitant to this as fed and state cuts. The simple fact is that both your former superintendent and your current superintendent did not create this situation any more than your board did and it is just as much to blame for creating previous budgets that they knew dipped into reserves instead of making the cuts in personnel, program, etc. that should have been made then.

So now you have a bunch of board members playing dumb as though they never imagined that fed and state funds would continue to diminish as well as act as play dumb that they didn't know they had been running budgets the previous two years which were actually spending beyond revenue. This is public record folks. Heck, why didn't teachers, newspapers or even the general public point this out?

Sorry, but your complaints about this particular financial matter aren't just something everyone can conveniently dump on the door step of your supt. (or his processor/alleged puppet master). Again simply painting the guy as the uncaring bully isn't really addressing the cultural and system issues which some folks in your district seem to be struggling with.

As a sidebar, why in the world would you think that S.S. would ever have any interest manipulating or even being involved with FCPS now that he is out of there. Sorry but Prichard Committee makes FCPS small potatoes.