As a former Florence Carlton School (FCS) Trustee, I want to address misleading information by Richard Paris about FCS and the levy.
With more than 551 students and 30 teachers, state law requires FCS have a full-time superintendent. Darby falls below those levels. The FCS Board will reduce a principal to half time next year. This cut will happen regardless of the levy outcome. The Board recognizes times are tough and is stretching budget dollars in every way.
The FCS superintendent’s base salary for this school year is $88,905, plus insurance and other benefits. This package is in line with Class B schools statewide. The Montana School Boards Association reports the average base salary for a Class B superintendent in 2009-2010 was $84,293. Stating the superintendent’s salary is $130,000 is untrue. The levy is not needed to fund excessive benefits for the superintendent. The levy’s purpose is to retain two middle school teachers, a high school foreign language teacher, and for general supply and maintenance expenses. It’s for the children!
Insinuation that reduced enrollment is related to quality of education at FCS is unfounded. Enrollment skyrocketed during the 90s real estate boom, and we battled to adjust for unprecedented growth. Recently, a more moderate population base has emerged.
We have simply grown weary of Mr. Paris’ attempts to disparage our community and his insulting remarks about our students and alumni. Our graduates excel in college with the assistance of substantial academic and athletic scholarships. FCS only reports scholarships a student accepts. Many schools report every scholarship offered. Private school students have access to endowments and other scholarship opportunities exclusive to their religious denomination. It’s apples and oranges.
FCS is a fine school and the heart of our community. We must continue to improve as needed and maintain the facilities and traditions built through generations. Support your school. Support your community.