Chris Ross VS Susan Rzucidlo

Paul Price finally had his moment in the sun.

The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District board member who was silenced by a majority vote at last month's school board meeting read two statements at Monday night's meeting, one a truncated version of his original statement.

At September's meeting, Price was twice disallowed to make statements regarding Superintendent Sharon Parker's recent contract adoption.

At the time, Board President Kathy Brown said that parliamentary procedures were implemented to prevent Price from making what was perceived as personal statements about Parker and her newly revised contract.

On Monday night, Price's statement revolved around the amount of Parker's current salary of $206, 599 versus those of the US Secretary of Education, various big city mayors and numerous mid-level state officials - all of whom made less than Parker, according to Price.

He also objected to several post-retirement benefits outlined in the contract that Price said seemed exorbitant, including eight years of healthcare coverage and a lump sum percentage of her last-year salary paid out for not taking a sabbatical.

"The approximate taxpayer cost of these two items will likely be in excess of $155,000. If you spread that amount over the four-year contract extension, it adds almost $39,000 per year to the true annual costs to the district," he said.

Looking back at previous superintendent's salaries, Price took umbrage with then-board's decision to increase former Superintendent Jack Kenney's salary 15.17 percent in 2004-05.

That increase, Price said, was granted to bring Kenney's salary in line with other area superintendent's salaries.

Kenney left the district within two years after that increase, where he was paid $190,470 for a year as a consultant to the district.

Although Price said several times that he had no problem with Parker as an individual or with her work for the district, he disagreed with the district's apparent policy to "pay big salaries in order to attract talented administrators."

He added that others would be willing to do Parker's job for less.

"I believe that there are other highly qualified individuals just like Ms. Parker was when we hired her that would love to have that job and would be more than satisfied with such a paltry pay and benefits package," he said.

Later in the meeting, the board voted 7-2 to accept the Act 93 Administrative Staff Wage and Compensation Plan, with Price and Timotha Trigg voting against.

Price took time during the discussion phase to voice his concerns that the board is spending tax dollars unchecked by accepting the terms of the new contract.

"In a world where about 10 percent of Americans are without jobs, this board continues to approve larger than inflation-based salary and benefit increases," Price said.

Price also said that the 7.5 percent contribution from employees towards healthcare doesn't begin to offset the annual increase in costs to the district.

With both the teacher's contract and Parker's contract, Price said that the increases would inevitably affect programs within the schools.

And as in the case with Parker, Price said there were other people willing to work for the district.

"I believe there are plenty of well-qualified applicants to fill out administrative positions if our current professionals are unwilling to work for what the district can reasonably pay," Price said.

When asked for comment, Interim Board Member Gregg Lindner referred to information published in THE KENNETT PAPER regarding the salaries of superintendents throughout the region when compared to Parker's.

He added that Parker's salary should not be compared to governors and mayors but to her contemporaries.

"I thought it would be interesting for the room to see what the contiguous salaries are," he said.

Board Member Curt Baker said that he personally felt that it was not appropriate to negotiate the superintendent's contract in open session.

Price's initial statement lasted just under 11 minutes, his second statement around four minutes.

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