Wise Move: Superintendent Paine right to turn down raise

Members of the West Virginia Board of Education who voted to give state school Superintendent Steven Paine a pay raise may have good intentions — but they either did not give the matter a lot of thought, or they are genuinely clueless about how such a move would be interpreted by the average West Virginian.

Fortunately, Paine recognized the problem and said he will not take the $4,170 salary boost board members authorized last week. He will not consider a raise until other pressing issues in Mountain State schools are addressed, Paine explained.

Good. As state Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, pointed out, Paine isn’t feeling the same financial pinches that affect most public school teachers. The state superintendent already makes $230,000 a year.

Giving Paine a raise when so much needs to be done to make public schools better would have sent a terrible message. Good for Paine — who, by the way, was not aware board members were planning the move — for recognizing that.

As Carmichael noted, board members put Paine in “an awkward position.”

It is a mark of the enormous disconnect between the folks who often find themselves in positions of influence in Charleston and the real world that they would consider such a thing.

Until some of the serious concerns facing schools are addressed, it should not do so again.


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