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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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