District News Roundup
Barry L. Steim, superintendent of the 6,800-student Coeur d'Alene school system in northwestern Idaho, has been criticized in that community recently for attending law school and teaching college courses in addition to carrying out the responsibilities of his $42,500 job as superintendent of schools.
Some are particularly displeased that he mentioned his own willingness to forego a pay raise for this school year in a successful effort to persuade teachers to moderate their salary demands, since it was revealed that the local school board has for the past two years, in lieu of a salary increase, given him an expense account for his law-school tuition and a car to travel to law school in.
Mr. Steim turned down a $4,250 raise for the 1981-82 school year, but the Coeur d'Alene school board gave him the same amount to pay for his expenses at Gonzaga University Law School in Spokane, Wash. Mr. Steim also turned down a scheduled 10-percent pay raise this year, but accepted a $6,000 expense account for law-school fees.
Mr. Steim said he "does not feel bad about [accepting the expense account] at all." "I chose to take a raise in benefits instead of salary, it's done all the time," he said. "I took a 3-percent raise [the $1,750 increase in his expense account from the last school year to this school year, as a percent of his $42,500 salary] when I was entitled to 10 [percent]."
Mr. Steim said that he spends about 40 hours a week on his law-school and college-teaching commitments but that the schedule hasn't affected his ability to complete his responsibilities as superintendent. "It's a matter of age, motivation, and desire," he said. "I've been putting in 80-hour weeks."
Robert West focused community attention on Mr. Steim's expense account and the time he spends on his law-school activities during a recent school board meeting. Mr. West is a former member of the Coeur d'Alene school board.
The American Federation of Teachers has unseated the National Education Association as the collective-bargaining agent in the Broward County (Fla.) school system, the 10th largest in the nation.
According to figures from the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission released last week, the Broward Teachers Union, an aft affiliate, defeated the nea-affiliated Broward Classroom Teachers Association by a vote of 3,386 to 2,886.
The aft local had been unsuccessful in three other attempts since 1975 to win the right to represent the district's 7,000 teachers. Broward County has 130,000 students.