Tuesday, July 19, 2011

EASD Superintendent Gets $110K in Taxpayer Money as Reimbursement for Finishing Doctorate at UPenn and Accepts $5,000 Raise

Superintendent Sue McGinley, right, next to Kerry Myers, School Board President, discussing how to make cuts in the budget projected on the screen behind them. This is when they were still threatening to fire 215 teachers...

Posted by: Noël Jones

Next school board meeting: This Thursday, July 21st, 6pm, 1801 Bushkill Drive

Remember when everyone thought Easton Area School District Superintendent Sue McGinley was finally seeing the light and doing the right thing by volunteering to give up both her annual raise of 3% ($3,000) and her merit raise of 2% ($2,000) in solidarity with teachers who were being asked to agree to a pay freeze to avoid the firing of 215 teachers? Well, think again. Colin McEvoy reported for the Express-Times last week that what Sue McGinley knew at the time is that she would be finishing her doctorate at University of Pennsylvania shortly, that she would be receiving $110k in reimbursement for that doctorate from taxpayers, and that she would additionally be receiving a $5,000 raise in pay for having achieved her doctorate, making her the highest paid Superintendent in our region at $170,000 a year.

Furthermore, she has recently cashed out unused vacation days to the tune of $45,000. This makes Sue McGinley's take of taxpayer money this year an astronomical $324,000. 

The fact that a "use-it-or-lose-it" policy was not part of her contract is an insult to injury to the pocketbooks of taxpayers who are struggling in this recession, but another disturbing thing to note is that people usually cash out vacation when they are considering leaving their position. It's bad enough that there was no cap on her tuition and that we paid for her to attend such an expensive university, but to think that she might be planning leaving after fleecing the public to this extent is infuriating (although part of me would want to just say, good riddance).

In addition to McEvoy's article, the Express-Times also posted this opinion article on the subject. A poll is attached, in which 74% of the ET's readership feel that the blame for this fiscal fiasco lies with our elected school board at the time. While I agree that our elected school board is charged with being our check and balance for the administration, I am disappointed that the poll didn't offer the name of Joe Kish, who, I am told, was Acting Superintendent at the time when Sue McGinley applied for the job and the key player in negotiating the contract that was put before the school board.

To put things in perspective here is the median pay in our area:
Easton's median job salary: $27,982
Median Easton Area teacher salary: $58,715
Median Easton Area administrator salary:$91,933
Sue McGinley's salary: $170,000
Sue McGinley's take-home this year: $324,000

As long as taxpayers keep deciding that school board meetings are not enough of a priority to attend, our taxes will keep going up each year to line the pockets of administrators and contractors siphoning money from the district--which has no money of its own--only our money to pay these people with. So if you're ok with tax raises every year, nepotism and croneyism, and irresponsible decisions by our elected school board who are supposed to be watching over the use of our money each year, then by all means, stay home, make dinner and watch TV, and assume that someone else will attend these meetings in your place--that someone else will speak up for you, and that no one will take advantage of you or your money. But if you're not ok with this level of waste and abuse, take personal responsibility and come out to the school board meeting this Thursday night, at 1801 Bushkill Drive, 6pm, to either make yourself heard, or at least be counted among those who are awake, paying attention and pissed off now. 

Two other reasons to attend the meeting this Thursday:
1. Nepotism: The school board will vote on whether or not to appoint Frank Castrovinci, HR Director John Castrovinci's brother, to Sarah Bilotti's vacated seat. Also, the new COO that the district intends to hire turns out to be a relative by marriage to Sue McGinley.
2. Croneyism: The school board will vote on whether or not to retain the services of D'Huy Engineering, even though other bidders have proposed options that involve no retainers and would save the district lots of money.

There is an election this fall, and it is very important that we all invest the time to observe our school board in action and figure out who to keep, and who to kick out.  And it is also time for us to put pressure on our school board to exercise their full power to remove administrators who are not operating in the best interest of the students and community, but instead, are working in the best interests of themselves. Wouldn't you like to hear Sue McGinley explain how giving her $324,000 is in the best interests of students and the taxpaying community? Does she really expect us to believe that she completed her doctorate on top of a full-time job and evening meetings, without doing any of it during work hours so that she can cash out all of her vacation time? Please. Get out from behind your computers and come to the meeting on Thursday. Tell your friends and neighbors. Call or email them now and make a social occasion of it. Bring popcorn. And a pitchfork.


Anonymous said...


You are an incompetent asshole! McGinley did NOT take home $324,000 in one year, and Joe Kish did NOT negotiate her contract. McGinley negotiated her own contract with the Board you putz!

It is people like you who think they know what the hell is going on that perpetuates lies about what is really going on in Easton.

You like to take a shit on the heads of the Board and Administration whenever possible, so make sure you have your facts straight before you do!

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

From what has been published in the Express Times and here, McGinley received a $110,000 tuition reimbursement, and she has been given a raise. The Easton area school district supervisor has a lot of responsibilities, so in my opinion McGinley's base salary is justified. But her perks are over-the-top, ESPECIALLY given the performance of our local schools. Time to reign in the largess of the roll-over school board.

noel jones said...

Anon 8;39--I trust you'll be writing a similar comment to the Express-Times, where the quote of $324K came from? Apparently they don't know what's going on either.

I have it from reliable inside sources that Kish was key in the selection of McGinley over other more qualified candidates.

Clearly you are an administrator who is upset about that.

disenfranchisedwhitedude said...

I appreciate your enthusiasm for the involvement of the people in the process, but this is not an isolated Easton issue; school boards all over the valley are having problems!
what happened when lots of people DID get involved and go to the board meetings? did anything change? no, the board still did what they want.
lots of people have tried to get involved, only to become frustrated by the bureaucracy and politics of it all.
not all of the public agrees on what should be done; hell, if I went to a board meeting I would call for all the sports programs to be cut WAY back, and I would promptly be hung from the nearest goalpost.
middle america, the silent majority, has become disenfranchised by special interest groups, corporations, and government. you cannot fight city hall (or the school board).

noel jones said...

disenfrachisedwhitedude--thanks for posting--I think you are expressing the feelings of many in Easton and in the Valley who have given up after expending energy to do their part and then burning out. but that would not happen if people came out in NUMBERS. the power of the people is in NUMBERS--and until people get mad enough about having what little income they have taxed out of them, or for instance, losing drinking water from their taps because of contamination from gas drilling--until these hardships are right on our doorsteps, most people prefer to give up and say "you can't fight city hall." the problem is, if citizens abandon their personal responsibility to participate in their democracy--which is a LOT more than just voting--it's attending meetings, watching over elected officials, writing letters to the editor and to politicians, finding good candidates to run for office and supporting them, and convincing OTHER people to vote--if each of us does not do whatever is possible within our schedules to do our part, in the meantime, the powers that be are gathering more power and more of our money to themselves, their families and their friends in the business community daily while the people that pay them (US) struggle more and more.

the thing is, meetings do not sound nearly as fun as sitting home and watching TV, but it doesn't have to be dry. there are residents out there who gather at pubs, have a pint, talk about what's going on, and head to the meeting. or they go to the meeting, and then go to the pub afterwards to vent and laugh. we need to start making politics a more integrated part of our social lives. there's no reason we can't have fun fighting the power : ) most people don't even realize that our American Revolution was started by an uprising of tavern-goers! I recommend the book "A Renegade History of the United States" by Thaddeus Russell...

and think about this--why do the unions have so much political power? because they have NUMBERS. and when they tell their numbers to come out to a meeting or protest or rally, they come out in huge numbers and stop legislation in its tracks, like in Wisconsin, or push it through.

there is no reason that independent individuals that are fed up with abuses of our system shouldn't be able to rally and do the same thing. all people have to do is show up, and convince others to show up--solidarity is the name of the game.

but as long as people think, "i've got too much going on," or "i'm too tired," or "i want to watch True Blood" or "someone else will go and speak up", then cynicism about fighting city hall becomes and excuse to do nothing at all.

it's amazing how much effect just 5 or 10 people can have, but when you have 50-100, it's a whole different ball game.

come out to the meeting--and then let's get a pint at Porters!

tunsie said...

I love u noel.....tunsie

Anonymous said...

The ET story you link to says "That From December 2008 to January 2011, McGinley received $109,019.33..." That means she didn't take home $324,000 in one year. Her tuition reimbursement was spread out over time.

I assume that's what Steve Furst was referring to in his anonymous 8:39 PM post.