School Superintendent Marty Bassett’s pay hike may put him in the midpoint of salaries at a half-dozen schools, but he will make considerably more than superintendents at notable schools of about the same size. Superintendents at Hastings and Scottsbluff receive about $20,000 a year less. Superintendents at McCook, Gering and Plattsmouth get $30,000 less, according to studies by the school district.
Bassett is a good communicator with a winning personality, and he understands west central Nebraska -- enduring qualities and reasons why he was hired.
So far, he seems focused on improvements to athletics and physical education, areas where he spent much of his career.
In these days of obesity, that is a good thing. Physical education is a vital component of learning how to live long and prosper.
But the school district needs to make significant progress in academics, because without being able to learn in a complex world, it is growing more impossible to prosper.
From most indications, Bassett could be a good superintendent for North Platte. But he is not a seasoned superintendent yet.
His pay raise to $187,200 puts him in the same strata of top-ranking government officials.
For instance, Chuck Hagel gets $200,000 a year as the U.S. Secretary of Defense. But Hagel will voluntarily give up some of his pay because of government sequester cuts.
If the school board is serious about improving academics, pay increases should be tied to performance, not handed out to reach a "mid-point," a practice that can be accurately interpreted "because everyone else is doing it."