Jackson school board writing some fat checks|OUR OPINION

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day in and day out we hear it, especially during legislative sessions. “Education is crucial.” “More money for schools.”

Well, pardon any taxpayer for being more than a little disgusted at actions taken by board members of the state’s largest district, the Jackson Public Schools.

Trickling out — because the board members certainly don’t think people are entitled to the information — has been that the new superintendent, Lonnie Edwards, will have a $175,000 salary plus a $1,500 car allowance per month, an unlimited travel budget and other benefits worth at least another $25,000.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

That’s a sweet deal, but not outrageous until one learns that the departing superintendent, Earl Watkins, for whom the taxpayers paid at least $700,000 defending and settling a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a school principal he attempted to fire, will be retained as a consultant for $200,000 per year at least through the end of his contract.

This smells like hush money. It certainly makes one wonder what Watkins knows that school board members don’t want him talking about.

Education is crucial. Schools do need lots of money to do the best job possible. But don’t fault taxpayers for being aghast when they learn Jackson school board members have approved $1.1 million in expenditures that have limited-to-no effect in helping Little Johnny learn to read.