WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — More than six weeks after WWAY requested information regarding faculty and staff salaries, the non-profit behind a group of area charter schools has responded to public information requests from WWAY and other area media outlets, but the response still leaves questions about how money is spent.
In a letter from Mark S. Dudeck, who identifies himself as an “Authorized Officer” of Charter Day School, Inc. (CDS), the parent company of Roger Bacon Academy and charter schools Charter Day School, Columbus Charter School, Douglass Academy and South Brunswick Charter School, said CDS agrees with the the NC Office of Charter Schools that it is subject to North Carolina’s public records laws. As a result, CDS released total payouts for salaries by category and the number of staffers in each category. But citing a state law that exempts charter schools from all the requirements of a school board, refused to release names and corresponding salary information of school employees. That makes it unclear to tell how employees are being paid.
The data appears to show that 49 teachers at Leland’s Charter Day School make an average of $35,843.88, 41 teachers at Columbus Charter School make on average $31,808.78 and three teachers at Wilmington’s Douglass Academy make an average wage of $25,660. South Brunswick Charter School is scheduled to open this fall.
WWAY also requested the names, positions and salaries of administrators for Roger Bacon Academy, but that information is either not included in the release or lumped in under the Office & Support line item for each of the three schools.
WWAY requested the information after Joel Medley, Director of the NC Office of Charter Schools, informed groups holding charters that not complying with public information requests could result in the revocation of their charter. According to published reports, other schools have since complied with requests, including the name and salaries of each employee, but in his letter, Dudeck wrote, “CDS simply does not maintain salary lists of the type you requested,” and that state law does not require a public agency from compiling a record that does not exist. However, state law mandates that certain personnel information is public record, including name, age, current position, title and current salary.