Teacher's union criticizes superintendent's $20,000 raise


MISSOULA, Mont. - The Missoula School Board of Trustees voted Monday night to give Superintendent of Schools, Alex Apostle, a raise and a long term contract.

Apostle was making $155,000 a year, but after Monday's 6-4 vote, his pay will increase to $175,000 this year, $185,000 next year and $200,000 in 2014.

In addition, the board also voted to extend his contract for a fourth year but did not set a salary.

"I'm pretty baffled as to why 6 of the ten board members are choosing to go down this road," said Missoula Education Association President Melanie Charlson. "There were four members that voted against the proposal, and I want to offer them my thanks."

Charlson said Missoula teachers will only see their pay increase by 2 percent next year, while Apostle's raise represents a 13 percent increase.

"In summer of 2010, there was an increase of 10 percent, and that year teachers had taken next to nothing for an increase, so there was a disparety a couple of years back, and now we're seeing history repeating itself," said Charlson.

"Finding a leader like Alex Apostle is an extremely rare event," said School Board President Toni Rehbein, defending the board's decision. "We need to do what we can to keep Dr. Apostle in town so we can keep our school district on the rise."

Rehbein said Apostle's tenure as superintendent has seen Missoula schools receive state and national recognition. She said he helped attract a grant that brings money to the district, and to teacher's pay.

"There is very detailed and very requirements in this grant that holds us very accountable for every dollar that's spent. Our board believes, that without Dr. Apostle's leadership, we can't guarantee that we can do that."

Click here to read the minutes from the Missoula School Board of Trustees meeting.