The following article was submitted and written by Rick Paris -

I have read several comments in the Missoulian about the recent pay raise for Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Alex Apostle. The school board chair, Toni Rehbein, went so far as to call Apostle a “superstar” and said we need to elevate his salary to retain him. What I’m about to inform you of should help ease some of the pain the Missoula taxpayers are suffering from in this recent 13 percent raise:

• Missoula city school enrollment: 8,590 students in K-12; superintendent salary: $175,000 or $20.37 per student.

• Florence Carlton enrollment: 815 students in K-12; superintendent salary: $115,000 or $141.10 per student – 6.06 times the amount that Apostle earns. Why?

Sorry to inform the Florence school district taxpayers about these figures but as a taxpayer I’d be glad to have Apostle come to our district. Our past board chairperson, Vickie Cornish, claimed our superintendent is “the best thing that has ever happened to Florence.” Sounds like she and Toni Rehbein could be related. Cornish is still on our board of trustees.

Florence has an estimated 75-80 out-of-district students who attend our school without paying tuition. It’s no wonder that our school board keeps asking for mill levies when we have this many extra students in the enrollment that our district taxpayers have to carry the financial burden of. Match that with our “superstar” John C. McGee’s salary and the excessive administration created by the out-of-district enrollment makes me believe that you folks in Missoula are getting a great deal for your tax dollar.

Florence passed a mill levy last year for $130,000 and still informed the taxpayers there would be cuts even if it passed.

I wish trustees would learn to read about whom they appoint and do their do diligence. Maybe if they read about and inquired about these administrators they would actually get the best people for the job instead of defending them and tagging them with a “Marvel Comic” name which does not fit them. Most of the trustees I’ve met I would consider at best a bobble head. I find it sad that Cornish and Dorothy Rhodes never looked into John C. McGee’s disastrous tenure while he was the superintendent of Montana City. Just follow this link:

Imagine how much money could be redirected to actually teaching, books and learning tools in Ravalli County rather than paying bloated and inept administrators. Imagine if there were one superintendent in Ravalli County and support staff instead of the nine or 10 we presently have along with each of their support staffs. We could redirect millions for better education.

Michele Malkin – writer, columnist, radio and television personality – wrote a book called the “Culture of Corruption.” I left New York and moved here thinking that I would get away from the corruption. Wow, what a lesson I learned. People all around the country should come to Florence and learn from the pros.

I used to be a substitute teacher at Florence and a past trustee from the Florence school board as well. I can tell you Missoula taxpayers that you are unequivocally getting the Cadillac plan while the poor folks in Florence are still putting up with the AMC Pacer with a blown engine and transmission that only goes in reverse.