NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - Just months after closing four elementary schools, controversy loomed over a proposed major pay raise for the New Albany Floyd County Superintendent.
It was a packed house at the Nov. 15 school board meeting and there was tension in the air. Right off the bat, Superintendent Dr. Bruce Hibbard said he would not accept a pay raise of more than $20,000. Many still spoke out, angry a raise was even being discussed, but several school board members still disagree.
"To walk the talk, that's what I'm doing tonight and I will not accept a raise," said Hibbard at the start of Monday's board meeting.
That announcement was one many were hoping to hear.
"We should be making decisions in the best interest of the school corporation and at times this negatively affects individuals and at this time that would be me," said Hibbard.
Several folks still wanted their voices heard.
"Thank you Dr. Hibbard for refusing that, however I still have concerns why it was brought to the board to begin with, I think that was not a good decision. I don't know who did it, but I think there is a disconnect with the taxpayer," said Amanda Beam with Georgetown PTA.
Pam Johantgen worked at Silver Street Elementary, one of the four schools closed this past spring. Her position as a teacher's aid was eliminated, but she was able to find another job for less pay in the district.
"I'm a little confused why our school board members, some of them are so supportive that he does get the raise," said Johantgen.
Many agree saying during a time when schools are closed and salaries are frozen, it's not the time for a raise, but NAFC School Board President Roger Whaley says he would have voted in favor of the raise, because Dr. Hibbard's salary does not compare to other superintendents in Indiana in similar districts.
"I think the right thing for the school corporation happened tonight. I don't think the right thing for the superintendent happened," said Whaley.
In March 2010, the NAFC School Corporation voted to close Galena Elementary, Pine View Elementary, Silver Street Elementary and Children's Academy of New Albany with a 5-2 vote.
Currently Dr. Hibbard's base salary is $142,000, the board approved to extend his contract for one more year, giving him a rolling three year contract. His third year, Hibbard will be making $155,000.