To the editor:
Recently, after spending a bit of time perusing salaries on the sunshine list, I sent an email to our school board inquiring about how the salaries of upper administrators are calculated. Of interest to me were salaries that have seen marked increases over the past few years (in fact, one, in particular, has risen $75,000 since 2017; there are others, but this one certainly stood out).
I also inquired about the current use of Widdifield Secondary School, since I know the director and a few others are using a portion of the building as office spaces. A reply was received two weeks after my inquiry that essentially says the following:
1. Employee salary is confidential.
2. The next steps with the WSS property will be led by the Board's consolidation committee. The public may refer to the reports and minutes contained in public Board meeting packages found on the website.
I have a few problems with this response.
First, is it not the public who pays the salaries of board administrators? If so, why would the determination of salaries be a private matter?
Next, I was not inquiring about the future plans of Widdifield; rather, I was, and still am, interested in how the space is currently being used, and whether public money has paid for any renovations of these office spaces. Why is our board so tight-lipped about who is using that building?
As a taxpayer who is interested in the use of public money, I believe I have a right to know the answers to these questions. We all have a right.
The board seems to believe public trust has been restored since the ombudsman published its report, indicating that transparency was lacking in many areas of operation within our board. I would have to disagree, not only based on the reply received, but for many other reasons as well.