CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The recent vote by the West Virginia Board of Education to give State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Paine a raise garnered much attention and criticism.
On Thursday, around 24 hours after the decision by the board, Paine came out and said he would not accept the pay increase of over $4,000.
This was after Paine told the board at the Wednesday meeting that he did not even want it.
State Board of Education member Debra Sullivan appeared on Friday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ and said she regrets the board’s decision as it surprised her that it came up as such an issue.
“He indicated that he did not desire a raise and in hindsight, I wish we would have listened to him. It’s one of those times,” she said.
Sullivan said Paine, who’s annual salary since starting the position in March 2017 has been $230,000, deserved the raise because the board felt he has done an outstanding job.
State Senate President Mitch Carmichael has been critical of the state Board of Education for its decision to give the raise, releasing a statement on Thursday before Paine stated he would reject the offer.
“The state school board, rather than focusing on students, parents, teachers, focusing on how we improve and drive more money into the classroom, would take the initiative to raise someone’s salary who was already at the very top of the pay scale nationally,” Carmichael said on Friday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline.’
Carmichael said this was not to demean Paine, as he believes Paine has done a ‘fine’ job. Carmichael gave credit to Paine on Friday for rejecting the pay hike but he said that this should open people’s eyes to where the money is going in the school system.
“In the big context and scheme in the billions of dollars we spend on education, it is that big of a deal, no,” he said.
“But it is time that people start paying attention to the nickels and dimes and the thousands of dollars that go into the administration of our school system.”
The raise would have been in a total of $4,170, equal to the raise teachers have received in the classroom in the last two years.
According to Education Weekly, Paine’s current $230,000 salary was 12th highest in the United States in 2017 among state superintendent of schools.
The salary was more than states such as Ohio, California, Texas, and Pennsylvania.
Sullivan just wants the state to put this in the rearview mirror.
“I think everyone is ready to move forward and that is a good thing.”