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ONLY ON 3 INVESTIGATION: While teacher pay stays flat, 6 secretaries make more than $50k at New Hanover Co. Schools

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- New details in our investigation of a reported relationship between New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley and an administrative assistant he supervised.

We are learning more about why she and some other administrative assistants have higher salaries than most teachers.

After Markley's former administrative assistant received a $6,000 raise in July that bumped her salary to more than $75,000 for what the district calls outside experience credit, we wanted to know what exactly that means.

But first, we asked the Board of Education chair his thoughts on the reported relationship.

"Do you have any more questions on outside work experience? Because I made it very plain I was not going to discuss personnel," Don Hayes said. "If you're through with outside work experience, then we're through."

Hayes did not want to talk about reports of the relationship between Markley and Baltezegar, so we asked why the district is considering a change in the district's fraternization policy.

"Basically I think that any organization where you have superiors in certain relationships with subordinants and so forth, it's frowned upon, and I think that's what they're addressing and looking at all that," he said.

We also asked Hayes to explain in more detail what outside experience credit is.

"If you're trying to hire like technology for example, you know, you're competing against other... if you've got computer skills and so forth, that's very marketable," Hayes said. "So it makes it difficult for us as a school system to pay the salaries that private industry can pay. So this was just an attempt or is an attempt to level that playing field some to where we can be more competitive in hiring employees."

Hayes says the money for outside experience credit comes from the district's budget. So we asked if some of the money that goes toward this outside experience credit go toward giving teachers maybe more.

"Well what we do then, we did raise the local teacher supplement," Hayes said. "We did raise that one percent, so that has been raised, which is well over a million dollars. So, that we can do, but as far as... we don't control the state salaries."

And he says when you compare other industries to the school district, he salaries are not out of line.

So how much money are we talking about for administrative assistants? According to the school district, Donna Rosser makes $61,108, Tabitha Adams makes $62,208, Glenda White makes $71,184. Markley's former assistant tops the list at $75,468, while teachers in the county have seen minimal increases in their district supplement.

"If you look at private industry, if you go to Cape Fear Community College, if you go out to UNCW, if you look at other corporations, administrative assistants, many of them make very good salaries, much higher than what ours make," Hayes said. "But yes, you're right. There are administrative assistants that do make more than a certified classroom teacher."

So what's the most a teacher can make in New Hanover County? The highest level on the state's pay scale is for a National Board Certified PhD with 36 or more years experience. Add in the district's eight-percent supplement, and a teacher with those qualifications would make less than $73,493.96 a year, or about $2,000 less than Baltezegar.

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