On Monday, Jan. 14, the Missoula County Public School board voted 6-4 to award MCPS Superintendent Alex Apostle a 13 percent raise. The new three-year contract boosts Apostle's salary from $155,000 to $175,000 for the 2012-13 school year; to $185,000 in 2013-14; and to $200,000 for 2014-15.
The board's decision has been met with ire from MCPS employees, students and members of the community. In late January, Hellgate High senior Yetta Stein began an online petition calling for Apostle to reject the raise; to date, 2,000 people have signed the petition. Then, in early February, dozens of people spoke out against the contract in a three-hour public comment session before the MCPS board. Just last week, the issue was raised at another meeting, where board members pleaded with critics to look forward and not belabor an already done deal.
Many are still not ready to move on. A number of complaints focus on the fact the district is already strapped for cash and is in no position to give raises, while others cite Apostle's recent job hunt—he was a finalist in April 2012 for the same position in Spokane—as evidence of his waning commitment to Missoula. Still, supporters of the raise claim Apostle has been a stalwart leader for local schools, pointing out that his Graduation Matters campaign has garnered praise from Montana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau.
No matter your stance on Apostle's compensation, the numbers are difficult to interpret without some context. We compiled salary information on other educators and prominent local public figures to see how Apostle's new salary stacks up.