Roger Bacon Academy/Charter Day School releases staff salaries, still breaking law withholding administrator info
 
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The company behind several area charter schools has finally released information about staff salaries requested by several media outlets including WWAY, but still has not released information about administrator pay.

In a release today, Charter Day School, Inc., which is run by Roger Bacon Academy, released the pay of each member of its staff, which includes Charter Day School in Leland, Columbus Charter School in Whiteville and Douglass Academy in Wilmington, though it does not explain who works at what school. The company recently released budget totals for salaries, but refused to release individual information claiming it does maintain such a list and was not required to compile it under state law.

Earlier this spring, the state Director of Charter Schools told charter school operators they must comply with state open record laws, just like any other public school, or risk losing their charter. Charter schools are run by private entities with public money.

"CDS believes this disclosure allows media outlets to get beyond the harmful fixation on the salaries of our dedicated, skilled staff and to report the real story of how Charter Schools like CDS use less taxpayer funds while obtaining better student outcomes than traditional schools," CDS said in its release.

Click here to see the information CDS released

The list of salaries show most of the teachers are paid $30,800, which is what the state currently pays public school teachers who have a bachelor's degree with zero to five years experience. While the information CDS provided shows each teacher's hire date, it does not explain each teacher's level of experience, which can be accrued at other schools. Local school districts also have the ability to pay a stipend to help increase teacher salaries.

When it released limited salary data earlier this month, CDS said in a statement that state law exempted it from most of the same requirements of a public school district. However, media outlets continued to complain to state regulators, who ordered the company to release its detailed salary information by June 27. CDS, though, says it was motivated by proposed legislation working its way through the legislature.

"Change in the disclosure law is coming, and CDS will continue to be fully compliant when overseeing its charter schools," CDS Board of Trustees Chairman John Ferrante said in the company's statement. "This detailed disclosure required by the new law will, once and for all, resolve any outstanding requests or complaints."

It does not.

WWAY in its original request for salary data also asked for that of administrators for CDS schools. We have reiterated to the company our request for that information, which is also, we believe, part of the public record.

WWAY and other media outlets across the state have requested salary information from charter schools in an effort to facilitate transparency regarding the spending of public funds as is required of public school districts.

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"will WWAY then demand that the transparent traditional public schools start producing better products?"
No because the story is about LACK of salary information not about test scores. Of course YOU forget this fact.
We as parents have ALWAYS wanted BETTER test scores and in fact some governors are now removing common core from schools - so the fight for better test scores continues.
But we have NOT hand to fight for salary information which according to the state agency overseeing charter schools says HAS to be released.
They said nothing about scores because the public schools cores are known to be lower so far.
But we sure have ALL their salary info now don't we?

Vog

Do you know what I find interesting? All of this negative new publicity is actually helping out The Roger Bacon Academy. These 'smear' news stories causes parents to question, "What is this charter school stuff?" Then, they start looking into the real facts...who cares about salaries...? They look at the end result. The end result is better scores. Better environment in which to learn. More structure. Less school violence.

The waiting list gets longer. I am sure that all of the negative news stories have really boosted The Roger Bacon Academy. As a charter school supporter, I ask that you keep it up.

Go ahead...focus on salaries....I am sure Mr. Mitchell enjoys the free advertisement!

So much free publicity that it has caught the attention of Washington D.C. reporters who are knocking on doors and calling homes to discuss the federal investigation Mitchell is under. Free advertisement, especially the negative kind, is not a good thing....don't celebrate.

The focus is not the salaries, rather the fact that the law is not being followed. It is a state law that all schools have to abide by. Either way, you shouldn't encourage free NEGATIVE advertisment.

Unfortunately, you forget one thing. The students that attend charter schools are not the same that attend traditional public schools. If they were, we wouldn't be having this discussion. The number one factor in a child's success? PARENT INVOLVEMENT. The students at the charter schools in question have parental involvement by definition. They have to get there. So all of the parents are involved, simply by virtue of them having to take them and pick them up. How can a single mom drop off, pick up a child twice a day while trying to hold down a job? So the students at charter schools are much more likely to come from two parent homes. Lunch at a charter school is often obtained by local fast food. This costs 1000 a year for one student. Money equals opportunity and if one can afford this, one probably has the funds to give their child many, many advantages. These are generalizations but for the most part are true.

The awesome thing about traditional public schools is that they take anyone -- handicapped, poor, starving, and give them a chance. No one stops a student at the door and asks them if they have a ride. No one tells them to bring food or starve. No one teaches them from a script, because one size cant fit all. Everyone is let in. And yes, when a student messes up, they are let back in. A charter school can dismiss a student without reason and parents have no recourse. It might be tempting to dismiss students who have behavior issues, are severely handicapped, or maybe even have low test scores. This is usually accomplished by the headmaster gently suggesting that "this school is not for you, maybe you should go to the traditional school where they can help you".

I do want to say there are good charter schools out there. But they are the ones that realize that a business model shouldn't be applied to our children. And they are ones that are completely transparent with how the money they receive from you and me is spent.

I'd like to know how many of the students of these schools are successful in real life. Most of the students of the Academy I went to went on to become college drop outs and drunks. Its impossible to adapt to real life if your parents have kept you cocooned. You can't keep them in a bubble forever.

I thank you for your point. I do believe that The Roger Bacon Academy is an excellent choice for a child's education.

It is all about choice. If parents were happy with the public schools they woild not make the sacrifices required to attend the RBA schools.

If tlhe public schools put more descipline in the public classrooms so that teachers were in charge vice the students...their results may be bettertoo.

If the public schools were run as a business...they may have better results and less students leaving. The traditional public school model is severely warped. A friend of mine proctored testing at New Hanover HS. He said he was afraid each day he was there. There is something wrong with this. Maybe dismissal to an alternative school is the answer.

No wonder why parents pull their children and put them in a charter school.

Thank goodness for competition and CHOICE.

Please help me. Charter schools run a lottery to see who attends. Second schools have to be run as a business. if not we end up with what we have. And it is the parents that have to become involved. The parents who worry about their child's test score instead of how high they can bounce a ball end up with educated children.

I find it interesting that "Willie" the bus driver earns the same salary as many teachers, who due to the nature of their profession are required to be both degreed and licensed. Not to mention that the teaching assistants appear to make a miniscule amount less than teachers ... These numbers just don't look right.

I know of one current teacher/coach who is not on this list. Makes me wonder how many other salaries they didn't include.

There is more than one missing salary on this list! Every person in the administrative office is missing along with several from around the campus. Mike Frank is one salary I would like to see considering the fact that he was fired, rehired, and then placed in an administrative role. Where's the other LaFave? The cheer coach/PE coach? Compare this published list to the website and you will see lots of holes. Some may ask why the median salary for teachers at this school is in the 1 year to 5 years experience range? That would be because several teachers have been fired throughout the years because they had too much experience, thereby costing the school too much money. Recent college graduates cost less; it's just that simple. Test scores? Not much in the way of diversity at this charter school, but the curriculum is awesome and more schools should use it; again, it's just that simple. Having said all of this, we still can't really compare this Charter school to a typical public school. This charter school provides no transportation, no lunchroom or even lunches, and is there a real library? Complaints are common about receiving less funding, but why would you receive the same funding when you are not providing the same services? Anytime this charter school wants to level the playing field and compare apples to apples, then let's do it! Start by making the COMPLETE list of salaries public. Then start those buses! Transportation would open the doors of this school to a much more diverse population of students...then we could really compare apples to apples and talk about those test scores again.

Long before Mike Frank was hired, fired, rehired....he was hired, quit (because he was not given an administrative position due to the lack of confidence the current administration had in him)....due to his aggressive behavior - both towards staff and students. Family and friendship go a long way.

Donna Critzer has been at the school since the day it opened, she is an assistant, and yet her salary was not included on the list. An oversight or intentional? Baker Mitchell is no dummy and he is pulling all of the strings. Donna's salary will upset someone...could be her; could be everyone else. Gene LaFave's salary was left off the list. She is most likely teaching without a degree and her salary may surprise many. WWAY, pull the records and see who's missing. You are in for some big surprises; just keep digging. While you're at it, check to see who is certified and how many years experience each person comes to the table with. It wouldn't be surprising if the male counterparts were paid more simply because they are male.

AMEN!!!! I don't know who you are... but you're my hero!

Donna has not worked at the school all year. Your hero does not know what they are talking about..

Ummm... evidently you didn't read the part where CDS was supposed to release all salary info from 2012-2014.

It is my understanding that the charter school was to release detailed payroll information. Should this not include previous employees also? Donna retired a year ago, but her salary at the time of her retirement was most likely less than or equal to many of the fresh faces working now..

Performance based pay does not guarantee pay raises to all at equal intervals.