Years ago Jimmy Breslin wrote a hilarious novel about a Mafia boss who could not do anything right.  It was called The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

That seems the only description for decisions being made nowadays by the state department of education under the direction of superintendent Mike Sentance.

As we know, Sentance decreed a couple of months ago that he was going to intervene and try to bring about improvement in the Montgomery County school system.  He has already gone about securing contracts of more than $1.2 million to do so.

There are 55 schools in this system.  Ten are magnet schools and the remainder more traditional ones.  The state’s plan is to take control of only 27 schools.  Ten of these are on the state’s “failing school” list.

So what does superintendent Sentance plan to do.  Here is part of an email he sent to state school board members on March 31:

“Our long-term goal is to get the Montgomery County school system fixed. That means that we are looking to address both the current issues and plan for the future. We will need to attract talent to some of these schools. Accordingly, we will be giving our 27 principals a significant increase in pay – a ten percent increase.”

You read it right.  A 10 percent raise.

We’re talking about something in the neighborhood of $200,000 a year in new expenses for these 27 raises.  Is this money coming from the same pot that is paying for the two new contracts worth $1.2 million?

I am not against paying educators what they are worth.  But I am also for equity and for treating everyone fairly

The Sentance email also stated:

“We have undertaken some preliminary analysis of the MPS principal salary schedule. The analysis was somewhat startling. We concluded that their compensation for principals was significantly lower than the marketplace. When compared to other large districts in Alabama, MCPS’s salaries were in the bottom tier.”

Supposedly there are 19 systems statewide in about the same financial shape as Montgomery.  Don’t they too deserve help?

Yep.  The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight seems about right.