A letter in the Aug. 14 Tomahawk Leader:
Citizens of Merrill School District:
To those of you who didn’t attend the Merrill School District’s annual meeting, it’s really a shame, it was quite enlightening. I did and I wondered … “How much communication is there between the board and the superintendent?” When the superintendent was asked her salary, she was silent, as was the chairman of the meeting. Asked a second time … the chairman stated “$123,000.” This was met with an explosive “$123,000!” from Mr. Montabon (good job!) He then asked the audience how many of them survive on $30,000. … He … asked if this included benefits. Answer: “No.” So our superintendent is receiving $148,000 a year. How can the Merrill District support this kind of salary when many citizens are living on $30,000 a year? When asked how they decided on her income the chairman stated it’s based on the salary other school in the valley pay. What is the population of these other valley school districts? How does their industry compare with Merrill’s? … The citizens in Merrill School District are hurting. Couldn’t this superintendent’s job be let out on bids with an interview to judge the individual? I really wonder how the present superintendent was evaluated. Between the lack of industry and the cost of living, citizens can’t stay afloat, but they are supposed to support a superintendent at $148,000 a year? Why do we have to come up with additional tax dollars to hire her a lawyer?
It’s time that the entire school district stands up and make the administrative board accountable. Not just Gleason. It’s quite evident from the comments that I’ve heard that many of Merrill’s citizens also have doubts about our administration. You’ve read the negative comments about the Gleason community, but you should all be proud of this community that is trying to keep democracy a part of our local area. We need to work on getting this dictatorship squelched before you have no voice in procedures and more tax dollars are squandered away on unnecessary expenses.
… What is it costing to furnish this alternate school? Is all new equipment and furnishings being bought for that? Will this alternate location be rent-free for as long as you want it? … What exactly is it costing to set up this location? How many students do you have enrolled? Why couldn’t these students have attended NCTI? Questions, questions, questions. Are they ever answered in a pointblank way. A lot of hedging. Start trying to find the answers.
… Gleason is not just concerned about their Midway School. They’re concerned about where our educational system is heading when there seems to be no concern about our rural students. These smaller schools in the outlying areas have been a plus to our school systems in so many ways …
“Where is this all going to end?” With one big school in the city to accommodate all grades K-12? Do you want your child in such a program? Start speaking out and ask yourselves, “Why does Midway want to keep their school so badly?” What really are the advantages of transporting all students to town …? I sure can’t see an advantage.