First let me say that
I do not want to detract from all the good things that are
happening in our schools or the good things that have been done by
the staff, teachers and administration at ASD. But the recent
furor over the Superintendent's salary has left many residents
dumbfounded, and unable to find a place to address it - as the
current Board are the very ones who have approved this salary.
SUPERINTENDENT'S 2015 CONTRACT
HER SALARY OF $319,000 (a 132% increase from 2000 - about 6%
increase for every year while the average Cost of Living
increase has been about 2.2% a year), bonuses and a plethora of
benefits not afforded to any other employees . While our schools
are very good, they are not the top rated schools in PA
---although her salary is the top salary in PA. Another
important question is at what rate did the TEAM of teachers and
others increase as her salary and benefits increased? Did they
also get a 6% increas on average over the last 14 or 15 years.
When Dr Sichel arrived on the scene in the (1990's as a guidance
couselor ?) Abington had a reputation for good schools. That is
why she and I both chose Abington Schools for our own
children. So where is the analysis that Dr Sichel has not just
managed to keep the "status quo and keep the good schools good?
Did we have a rank then and now. If anyone has that information,
please share it.
In addition I am highly concerned about paying someone a salary
such as this when they are holding down 3-4 other jobs at the
same time. Are the "connections" important for the few that will
ride the coat tails - or for the entire student body that she is
to be serving? Do we want someone influencing policy when
clearly they think that leaders should be compensated so far
above those that are actually teaching and mentoring our
children? Isn't this what's wrong with Washington? There are
so many questions to be answered when things are this far askew.
THE SUPERINTENDENT'S FIRST CONTRACT in 2000
- see the difference
HER INITIAL SALARY OF $137,200 in an
agreement that contained just a few pages and just a few extra benefits
10-13-15 School Board Meeting -
By the time of this meeting not
a single School Board member had contacted me to answer the
questions I posed a full 8 days earlier. Among the questions
that I asked either earlier or at the meeting was how it was
possible for the Superintentdent to manage 4 jobs, several of
which appear to be quite time consuming . The answer received at
the meeting was basically that she is available 24/7 and does a
great job so that seemed not to matter ( to any School Board member
, all of whom had an opportunity to weigh in.) I mentioned
that at the salary we are paying, Abington residents like myself
believe this to be a full time job. In fact, if she is not
on the job, then others would have to do whatever it would
be that she would have done when she was on the job.
Earlier, Dr Altadonna was scheduled to retire. He was retained
....... If his or other salaries are doing the Superintendent's
work, then those salaries also should be calculated as part of
the cost of retaining this Superintendent.
I think there is a lot going on here that need a
fuller analysis on behalf of the taxpayers of Abington Township.
The School Board member, Michele Tinsman, who had
treated the resident so rudely at the last meeting refused to
apologize saying that she would not apologize for running an
9-08-15 School Board Meeting-
At the School Board Meeting
a candidate asking questions is treated like an errant child.
The School Board member, Michele Tinsman, acted like a domineering parent. I
don't believe any taxpayer or resident needs to be treated
in such a fashion - and School Board members who do this should
not be tolerated when issues such as this salary and other issues
are stifled in this manner. Issues such as how this unbelieveable
salary was put in place deserve a great deal of scrutiny and
answerability from the Board members that approved it.
2015 In addition to teaching and or counseling or mentoring at
Penn the Superintendent is also assuming similar dutes at
Delaware Valley College ( not sure of the start date on these
Starting July 2015 Dr Sichel will be making 319,000
6-17-15 PHILLY NEWS COVERS THE SUPERINTENDENT'S SALARY BUMP UP TO $319,714. THAT BUMP IS JUST A FRACTION OF THE PICTURE
The story does not cover the unbelieveable benefits package that has risen at the same time. What is the FULL yearly cost
to the Township of the salary and benefits package? given the exceptional retirement benefits negotiated -
what will it be when she retires which may be only 5 years away ??? Nor does this article answer some other
questions that might seem reasonable to ask ie: the fact that she has (or has had ) 3 other jobs including teaching, publishing,
and running a national organization, while being paid full time here. While she is available by email and phone,
what % of her time does she actually work for Abington and this salary? Were personal days taken
when she needed to bein another place for one of the other functions? The article also does not cover the
full cost to the Township when we have to hire ANOTHER superintendent and still pay her retirement costs.While she admits
that there was a "we" to the accomplishments she delivered, did we all get paid so handsomely? If a team, including staff teachers
and administrators and others were reasons for the successes - how does her increase in salary and benefits compare to theirs?
And how does it affect that 20% of the population that qualify for lunch assistance? Is this one of the reasons why they need it?
WHAT ABOUT THE INCOMES OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING THE SUPERINTENDENT'S SALARY?
One Study: The average American wage hasn't grown at all since 2000 by Keith Wagstaff
Meanwhile: Social Security has increased only 35% from 2000 to 2013. From 2013 to 2015 it increased 3.23 %.
That's a total of 39 % since 2000. If Dr. Sichel's salary were at a rate that seniors living on Social Security
could afford she would be making $190,700. Instead - while our seniors are getting a 39% increase - she is
getting 132% increase.
Check my math - I didn't graduate from Abington, maybe I'm in error. I based the result on compound interest.
6-5-15 ON THE HEELS OF THE SUPERINTENDENT'S SALARY COMES A SCHOOL BUDGET INCREASE OF 2.86% TO NEARLY A $147 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET
2013-14 = 136.6 million 27.80 mills
2014-15 = $143.2 million 29.06 mills 4.53% increase (2015 COLA was 1.5% - Cost of Living Adjustment)
2105-16 = $147,293,503 29.89 mills 2.86% increase (2016 COLA was 0%)
7-5-15 TED TAYLOR AT LARGE ASKS:
What local official makes more than the vice president of the United States?
Earns more than a U.S. senator? Takes home more money than any school superintendent in the commonwealth?
Even makes more than the superintendent of the Philadelphia school district
( that has 250,000 students not 7,000 to 8,000)? And that is without adding bonuses, perks and the income
and other benefits from 4 other jobs.
2013 Concern has been expressed about the amount of time the Superintendent is spending in Abington
While she simultaneously heads the Assoc of School Superintendents and continues teaching
and mentoring at Penn and at Delaware Valley College see her profile at AASA . The salary for her position that
has been greatly increased during the course of her time at Abington, including a very substantial increase
in benefits, deserves more scrutiny than it is apparently getting and the amount of time that is put in directly
towards her duties to Abington should be accounted for . Has anyone seen such an analysis. Dr Altadonna delayed his
retirement, it might be assumed to manage some of the duties for Dr Sichel, but how is this accounted for in dollars and cents?
2010 Dr Sichel is the 2010 Pa Superintendent of the Year
6-09 The superintendent's new salary of $238,000
She's also receiving a (10% ?) raise and a 10 % bonus ( which was reported in 08
in a taped interview as being higher than that of the Mayor of Philadelphia and that of the Governor of PA )
has been an item for discussion as both the township and school struggle to balance budgets in economic hard times.
One item cited as a kudo warranting the salary was the obtaining of a grant for the TV station.
But the TV station grant monies "obtained" came from the Township and out of the pockets of the residents of Abington,
(those who have cable contributed to the funds from whence the grant derived ) & the Township's treasury is now
offset by the monies that went to the School . Attempts to get the channel underway for substantially less with
existing equipment were continually denied.
In addition to salary raises and bonuses that do not reflect the hard economic times or the fact that many residents
have experienced cuts in salary or lay-offs, our tax collector appeared before the Board to request --- and receive---
an inflation rider for his fees. As of this writing, we have not been able to even calculate all of the costs of
collecting our taxes township-wide (meaning for both School & Township). From the budget book it is not clear to the
average resident, though the answer might lie in there somewhere if we were to hire an accountant. A request to the
Commissioner, tax office and others produced pieces of the puzzle. And we have been offered the audit- which we hope to
take a look at. But the entire picture while not clear shows an office staff , a tax collector, & some additional
agencies making what seem to be adequate or more than adequate amounts . So in this year of economic uncertainty,
taping into a fund balance to offer these salaries and guarantees is a practice that might deserve more scrutiny.
2004-2009 Dr Sichel was President of the Suburban Superintendents Study Council
1981 - Dr Sichel began as adjunct associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
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