News 12 at First at Five / Thursday, August 2, 2012
AIKEN, S.C. -- Dianne Parker has made it her job to inform others.
"This ought to be information that is left out front, where anybody who can walk in can see it, because it's public information," said Parker, surrounded by stacks of documents at her home only a few houses down from the school district's county office on Brookhaven Drive in Aiken.
Her latest mission is submitting Freedom of Information Act requests to the Aiken County Public School District. She wanted to know the salaries of district and school administrators.
"Deputy superintendent is making $112,000. Principal is making $94,000," she said, reading from the list.
She says that list is troubling her. Some principals make around $80,000 to $90,000. Many assistant principals rake in over $60,000, and in a lot of schools, there's more than one. North Augusta High School has four.
However, it's the salary of Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Everitt that has Parker most upset.
"$167,000," read Parker from the FOIA response. "All those salaries are corporate salaries. They are not tax-based salaries. It's wrong. It is definitely wrong."
The South Carolina Budget and Control Board website shows that Everitt's salary of $167,821 is actually larger than the $106,078 salary paid to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
However, other documents from the South Carolina Department of Education show that Everitt's salary is generally in line with other district superintendents, but Parker's not convinced.
"Taxpayers in Aiken County cannot support the lifestyle that these salaries afford," Parker said.
The school board just approved another 4.2 mill increase. Last year, they increased millage by 9 mills.
Meanwhile, the most recent state report cards rate the school district as "average" with "below average" growth and again failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress.
Parker says she just wishes administrators would take a pay cut to make the schools better.
"If they cared about the schools and children, they would," she said.
News 12 spoke with Everitt on the phone Thursday morning. She says their salaries are actually below the state average, and she says just a few years ago, administrators took 10 furlough days.
Ultimately, she says school administrators in Aiken County deserve what they get.