Reject the raise – that was the word Tuesday to Alex Apostle, superintendent of Missoula County Public Schools.

Oust the board members who voted for it – that was the cry to voters in Missoula from students, teachers, parents and other educators who gave public comment to the MCPS Board of Trustees in a packed Sentinel High School gymnasium.

“If you reject the raise, it will show our community that you aren’t just here for the money,” said Danielle Gornick, a high school student. “You’re here because you care about the education and our beautiful town of Missoula.“

Last month, a divided board approved a 13 percent raise for Apostle, a boost that pushes his salary to $175,000 this year and to $200,000 by 2014 and 2015. On Tuesday, an estimated 500 community members turned out to the regular board meeting, many to denounce the raise at a time teachers have to ration paper towels and students can no longer take some foreign language classes.

After roughly three hours of public comment, though, board members again touted the extraordinary leadership of Apostle not only in the district but in the Missoula community. Trustee Joe Toth, who opposed the raise, said success in education doesn’t happen by itself, and Apostle is in the driver’s seat.

“That coordination takes leadership, and I had my reasons for not supporting the raise. I still would like to say a lot of the leadership shown in this district has come from Dr. Apostle,” Toth said.

But plenty more money is now going to him, too, and Gornick, among the first group of students who spoke, shared a list of items the $20,000 salary increase could supply for the district: 57 brand-new computers, 250 new textbooks, 335 graphing calculators, 25,000 dry erase markers and 480,000 crayons.

Or, she said, “one Dr. Apostle,” or one “superstar.“

Community members who support the raise have repeatedly referred to Apostle as a “superstar” for pulling the community together to boost graduation rates and cut the number of dropouts. Since the pay hike, however, educators have upended the “superstar” moniker to highlight district employees in the trenches.

In a picket before the meeting, protesters lined South Avenue with signs saying, “My Superstar is a …” and they filled in the blanks with “Custodian,” “Lunch Ladies,” “Secretary.” Another sign said simply, “Students First,” and others called for the resignation of board president Toni Rehbein.

***

In public comment, Melanie Charlson announced members of the Missoula Education Association had voted in a landslide they had “no confidence” in Rehbein, elementary trustees Michael Smith and Shelly Wills, and high school trustees Drake Lemm, Jim Sadler and Debbie Dupree, who all supported the raise. Charlson, association president, said 96 percent of the 950 union employees who cast secret ballots voted “no confidence.”

Harsh words came up repeatedly from members of the public to describe the board’s decision to grant Apostle a raise after stressing the district budget needed cutting. Shameful. A betrayal. Deceitful. A disrespect. Disingenuous.

In response to the raise, teachers the past few weeks have named the long list of supplies running short in their classrooms. District leaders, in turn, have questioned why educators wouldn’t let their needs be known earlier.

On Tuesday, several district employees said they have approached the board and superintendent about the dire needs in schools on multiple occasions. And another employee said the door was never open for funding requests.

Christy Meurer, a teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary, said over the past few years, teachers have been told again and again the economy is in bad shape, and the district budget is tight. Apostle himself painted a grim picture of the district’s financial situation with presentations about shortfalls, she said.

“That’s why you haven’t heard our list (of classroom needs) before. We had no reason to believe that anything could ever be done about it,” Meurer said. “Or maybe we did ask but nothing happened.”

The audience often applauded speakers and even gave several standing ovations. After the sometimes fiery and emotional testimony from the public, trustees shared their views, and a couple even said they wished attendance at other meetings was so high.

***

In her comments, board president Rehbein praised the students for their eloquence and passion, and she said she heard the message from teachers. She also said she wanted to apologize for her earlier comments “that have appeared to be insensitive to our teachers.”

“When I referred to Dr. Apostle as a superstar, that doesn’t mean I don’t think our teachers are superstars as well, because I do,” said Rehbein, who taught side by side with them and said she reveres their work.

Trustee Lemm reminded people the Montana Legislature is responsible for funding education as well, and legislators are working on bills. He said regardless of what happens with Apostle’s raise, the district has seen much success in increasing its academic rigor.

“Let’s not burn down the house because we don’t like the decorations inside,” Lemm said.

He offered the highest praise to Rehbein for her volunteer hours – all on behalf of students, he said – and to Apostle for his leadership. Lemm said it was discouraging to see such a talented superintendent criticized, and he has no greater respect for anyone.

“He (Apostle) humbles me with his character, and he humbles me with his work ethic,” Lemm said. “He humbles me with his humility.”

At press time, the board had not taken up placing technology levy increases on the May school election ballot.

Reach Keila Szpaller at @keilaszpaller, at keila.szpaller@missoulian.com or at (406) 523-5262.

Reporter for the Missoulian

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(51) comments

Verum Patesco
Verum Patesco

Teachers are underpaid and deserve better representation. The real outrage should be directed at MEA-MFT and the dismal job they have done in representing their consituency in collective bargaining for their members. MEA-MFT should subject their executives and staff to the same pathetic results they have acheived for the teachers and state employees.

MEA-MFT and (all other not for profits) annual form 990 filings are available as public information. Please go to Foundationcenter.org to try to get the latest 990 filing from MEA-MFT. Unfortunately the latest return on file is 2010, however, it has a number of very interesting items that are reported.

To see the entire report, please go to this link:

http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/810/810169635/810169635_201108_990O.pdf

A few items to note: 1) contribution to 403(b) and 401(k) [qualified tax deferred retirement]plans for the MEA-MFT organization amounts to 33% of gross payroll reported. I know of NO other organization that contributes 33% of payroll to retirement plans. 2) Eric Feaver received a contribution (over and above the general contributions as a participant in the qualified plans, otherwise it would not have been separately reported) in the amount 15% of his base salary for a total cash amount of $17,728 into his own personal, private pension plan. 3) MEA-MFT is sitting on unencumbered liquid assets in excess of $2Million.

I don't understand how the teachers can be so upset with Alex Apostle accepting a raise given by his bosses (the school board) for doing his job when their union leader, Eric Feaver, has taken a 15% raise out of their dues revenue on top of a 33% contribution to his qualified retirement plan and $100K+salary (collectively worth more than $45,000!!!) during a year when the teachers, classified and state employees didn't get squat!!!

How about some balanced reporting from the Missoulian for a change? Melanie Charlson and the rest of the local teachers union need to focus their angst where it belongs - toward the MEA-MFT executives who are lining their own pockets with the dues money paid by the teachers and classified employees.

Keila Szpaller - put your journalistic skills to work in investigating this matter and letting the public know the truth about MEA-MFT..


Freddy
Freddy

Here is another take on this situation. Maybe we should use the same logic and contractual language, that got Alex Apostle his raise and have the teachers union come up with a similar plan for the teachers and funding the various programs they say are not be funded. As a Missoula taxpayer and someone who has 20 - 30 family members in education around the US, I would be happy to vote for (levy) a clearly defined program that will help us all achieve the desired results so many have commented on. It just doesn't seem to be productive or fair (IMO) to ask someone to give back money they were promised if they achieved certain results. The time to argue the points of how we compensate our superintendent was two or three years ago. Let's be positive, Missoula is a great place to live, we have lots of things going for us, so many of the kids here achieve great things. It just hurts me to see so much venting when our energies might be better used to move forward.

dodge1111
dodge1111

You're name wouldn't happen to be "Freddy Apostle" would it? The only person that would think any commenters on here are being "unfair" would be an Apostle or one of the board members themselves-

guppie
guppie

Mr. Apostle is really proud of himself for bringing in 2 million dollars for the district, figures that's worth twenty thousand for his own pocket. I believe that was what we were already paying him to do! Twenty thousand dollars is not an insignificant amount of money, in fact it's more than a lot of people in our community make in a year! Several nonprofits around the area brought 116 million into Missoula's economy with their work on the Milltown Cleanup project...for free!

random_rez_kid
random_rez_kid

Another facet of this that no one is talking about is how this could drive the great highly qualified teachers out of, and away from this district. I know that the people I've talked to in elementary education programs have said they would love to teach in a community like Missoula, but would never even bother applying there because of the past transgressions of the board and administration. These are the future teachers who are being trained to teach the new research based strategies that the students in MCPS could miss out on. Of course there will always be plenty of applicants there, but will they be the cream of the crop, and will the system in place crush their spirit and stifle greatness?

random_rez_kid
random_rez_kid

Another facet of this that no one is talking about is how this could drive the great highly qualified teachers out of, and away from this district. I know that the people I've talked to in elementary education programs have said they would love to teach in a community like Missoula, but would never even bother applying there because of the past transgressions of the board and administration. These are the future teachers who are being trained to teach the new research based strategies that the students in MCPS could miss out on. Of course there will always be plenty of applicants there, but will they be the cream of the crop, and will the system in place crush their spirit and stifle greatness?

Been There
Been There

I think it would help to keep things in perspective regarding Dr. Apostle's raise when you consider the Missoula County High School District had one of the lowest high school dropout rates in the state--something like 1%. I am a graduate of Great Falls High School which had the highest high school dropout rate in the state--7%. There are a lot of factors to consider when objecting to things in schools. First, I am not there and don't really know the daily frustrations and successes of staff in my child's school. Second, parent input is very important if there are problems in a school. If the only issue here is money, how much do these parents and others really know about what is happening in schools? Get involved--provide input--volunteer to help. Get some facts before submitting opinions.

MT_Mama
MT_Mama

Money is most certainly NOT the only issue! Teachers and support staff live in fear of retribution from Apostle, Rehbein, and the board if they speak out. Apostle has LIED when he said he wasn't aware of the problems with supplies, etc.

Roger
Roger

I can't imagine a legitimate dropout rate of only one percent - obviously educational standards have been lowered.

tax payer
tax payer

I will not give this school board another dime until there is a new board and they have proven to me that they will not recklessly give my money away. This raise was not cleared by the district budget manager, he is now having to find 20,000 dollars in this year's already spent budget to cover what the board has done. If you think things are bad now, just wait. This board will drive a good district with dedicated staff and promising minds into the dirt to wallow like pigs in the mud for whatever pennies are tossed in while the board watches for their amusement. Actually I think they are all too ignorant of what is going on to know to watch. Shame on us for allowing them to continue on the board. THIS BOARD MUST GO. The damage they have already done is too great. We will be regretting this time in our district's history. I believe a vote of no confidence so close to 100% shows what kind of leader Apostle is. The only way to save our schools is to actively recruit and campaign for their replacements. I applaud the MCPS staff that came with direct proof of Apostle and the school board's disconnect with those they serve. Unfortunately, the board and Apostle, when faced with pointed facts that they cannot deny, just pretend the facts are not there. These are not people who should be in charge of so much of our money that directly effects our children. The articulate students at the meeting are just what MCPS should be calling "superstars". Young people engaged in their own destinies and speaking out against injustice with confidence, intelligence, and poise. They are showing the respect the adults on the school board are completely void of.

peanutbutterandjam
peanutbutterandjam

You can't really blame Mr. Apostle for taking the raise. Most people would do the same. Take it and run. But you should blame the board members. You would think that sanity would prevail. Voters should be angry. But I bet when the time comes those same people will be elected again. I am floored that a school board, who are responsible to the voters, would do such a thing.

momof5
momof5

I just got this email from the students who organized the petition. Dr. Apostle is making the Missoula community look ignorant. I am a parent and a tax payer and I am hoping Missoula wakes up and votes against the Mill Levy.
Hi again petition signers,
I'd like to follow up on last night’s school board meeting and what our further plans are.
Last night’s support was outstanding. Thank you so much to the Missoula community, to those of you who came out and marched. To those of you who spoke at the School Board Meeting, most all comments were wonderful. The Board and Dr. Apostle needed to hear what our community truly thought. Thank you for your support.
Danielle, Lauren, Colter, Claire and I just met with Dr. Apostle and Board Chair Toni Rehbein. Though we spoke about a wide range of topics concerning his raise, gradation matters and how we personally felt, the final word what that he will not deny raise. He told us he was in a legal contract and could not. Danielle then asked him to act as a private donor and give $20,000 back as a donation to the district. He said he would not.
He openly said he doesn't believe that the majority of the Missoula community is not outraged by this raise.
I strongly encourage you to write and call Dr. Apostle with your concerns. He called this petition a 'survey with no scientific evidence'. I would really like to prove to him otherwise.

truelimegreen
truelimegreen

OMG! I cannot believe that Apostle said that the petition was a "survey with no scientific evidence" As if it really had to be scientific - cannot he just understand the simple message that many many people think the Board went too far in approving this high raise?

I like many others cannont believe that he would not turn down the raise after the uproar not only this go around but a couple years ago as well. It would have been in his and the district's best interest to return the raise as a donation as brought up by the students. Apostle will not even do that!

Thanks again to the students - such good citizens!! And thanks to momof5 from a mom of 3 for the info - I may have the message in by inbox too - just haven't opened my email lately.

castigate
castigate

What Ms. Szpaller should have written is : "....board members touted WHAT THEY SEE AS Apostle's......" A common immaturity in this journalist's writing is that she assumes it is the reader's job to provide the objectifying phrase. Or, she simply was not trained in objective journalism.

Roger
Roger

Most "journalists" do not understand the meaning of "objective journalism".

compleatcarpenter
compleatcarpenter

What a stark contrast there is between Alex Apostle and Jerry Pauli of Thompson Falls. Pauli is the superstar of the two!

pose
pose

Reminds me of when Obama recently gave Biden and Congress a raise while the economy lags and unemployment remains high.

PurpleTurtle
PurpleTurtle

Pension, pension, pension. Retirement pensions are based on an employee's salary, commonly, it is based on an average of the final 3-5 years salary levels. Has anyone considered how the increase in his salary will affect his retirement benefits? Will the pension plan he is participating in also be required to meet this absurd pay increase? The MCPS board is basically giving him a golden parachute. Missoula residents will be paying him (through his retirement package) for the rest of his life. Way to go MCPS board for mucking it up now and well into the future!!

Holyoak
Holyoak

This raise is nothing compare to what the new Commsioner of Higher Ed. got...$80k. All in a back-room deal in Helena...

http://missoulian.com/news/local/missoula-s-clayton-christian-is-new-commissioner-of-higher-education/article_edf88fb4-2ce3-11e1-b4d9-001871e3ce6c.html

BigTree
BigTree

The article’s title is all wrong. It should have been, “Hundreds of Teachers ask MCPS superintendent to return raise, call on trustees to resign”.

Looked like 95% of the “community members” at the meeting last night were MCPS teachers and students with little actual outcry from the community. IF folks are really upset about education funding then you should contact their Legislators and ask them to increase educational funding, i.e. teacher pay.

Link to ALL Missoula County Legislators: http://www.mcps.k12.mt.us/portal/Default.aspx?tabid=771

ChiefCharloParent
ChiefCharloParent

It's not the amount of funding but how it is being wasted. I wasn't at the meeting but plan to protest with my vote in the coming elections and levy requests. Kudos to the teachers and students that showed up but it was a waste of time to attend what was only a PR stunt. I hope others join me in cutting off additional funding and to replace the failing school board.

Missoula Mike
Missoula Mike

Graduation rates are up nationally to the highest levels in decades. http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-high-school-graduation-rate-increasing-20130122,0,3444079.story

MCPS rates would be higher no matter who was the MCPS superintendent. Apostle has done the classic "look for a parade and get in front of it" scam by trying to take credit for what is a national trend. The board needs to be replaced, their fawning adulation is really quite unbelievable. Apostle needs to go.

dodge1111
dodge1111

It's time for a few good people THREE to be more specific to run for school board this May. This current board consists of tired, old, angry, power hungry people many whom have been on the board for 12+ years. Note to Rehbein and all the others really---"don't you think it's time to let some new perspective and fresh ideas come on board"? If not WHY NOT? Why do some of you feel the need to run and stay on this board when you've outworn your welcome years ago?

I actually found it comical (Saturday Night Live could not have written a better skit) as to what happened after all the teachers left. Alex Apostle decides to speak out apparently to justify his raise to the taxpayers and he even said numerous times "I wish everyone were still here" to hear about the Denny Washington grant that I secured. As always tooting his own horn but it was the enamored board who again one by one profusely thanked him for everything he has done. It was like the 3-1/2 hour comments before hand had not even occurred. It was like the Twilight Zone. The most disturbing for me at least was to watch the Regional Director Heather Davis Schmidt laughing & smiling jovially and lovingly at Alex Apostle and the Board as though she were celebrating a party. I guess I can see why Schmidt would be laughing & smiling..and that's because she's still earning 3X plus what the teachers are earning...you could call it laughter all the way to the bank. She is blond...and her behavior certainly met with the stereotype last night.

The last laugh will be to watch Toni Rehbein be swiftly defeated this May- Being on the MCPS board and being the chairwoman means more to Rehbein than life itself- She forgets that it's the voters who have the real power here- Same goes for the rest of those bumbling schmucks when they're up for re-election.

tank man
tank man

IN REFERENCE TO WALTER12...WHY WOULD ANY TEACHER HAVE RESPECT FOR SOMEONE WHO CALLS A STAFF MEETING AND SPENDS 45 MINUTES FINDING FAULT FOR HOW THEY TEACH??????? THIS HAPPENS TIME AFTER TIME.. MY WIFE HAS TAUGHT AT BIG SKY FROM THE DAY IT OPENED...SHE HAS SEEN MANY SUPERINTENDANTS COME AND GO BUT THIS
GREEDY CLOWN WINS THE PRIZE....ONE FINAL COMMENT ABOUT DRAKE LEMM..
AFTER READING THE MISSOULIAN THIS AM IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS MR. LEMM HAS A SERIOUS DEPTH PERCEPTION WITH APOSTLE...GET MY DRIFT????

Re-Made in Montana
Re-Made in Montana

Why the yelling?

dave ajou
dave ajou

The Ravalli Republic featured this comment by Rehbein, absent in the Missoulian. "Rehbein said the new contract makes Apostle the highest-paid AA school district superintendent in Montana. She said the board also wanted to lay the groundwork to replace Apostle with a similarly qualified candidate, should he leave or retire.

Asked if she thought the salaries other Montana AA districts were paying were not enough to attract competent candidates, she replied, “Correct.”
Are you truly that delusional and self-congratulatory ? She just said that all other AA district leaders are incompetent.

MT_Mama
MT_Mama

I was at the meeting last night and I applaud the eloquent students, teachers, MCPS employees, and citizens who spoke. However, I spent much of the comment period looking at Apostle and Rehbein and have never seen such a lack of caring, empathy, and emotion. The only change I saw over the course of the evening was that Rehbein slumped lower and lower in her chair. Apostle remained utterly stone-faced. He does not care about "the little people."

Anyone who thinks he'll turn down the raise and do the right thing is deluded. He will not. He knows he's on the gravy train now.

As a citizen of Missoula and a voter, hear this: I will NOT vote for another school levy until Apostle and his band of shoe-lickers are gone and the bloated, top-heavy administration is cut back.

alpine11rider
alpine11rider

All for nothing..... All the courageous efforts of MCPS faculty and staff fell on deaf ears and the cold hearts of the MCPS school board, again. Just like pleas for better supplies, classroom conditions and better functioning computers get answered by short falls in budget. They clearly showed that they are out of touch with the teachers by miss representing the "lanes and steps" for advancement, overlooking the fact these under paid teachers must spend thousands of dollars in further education to receive one hundred thirty dollars a year. DID I SAY A MONTH! NO .... A YEAR. How can the school board or Dr. Apostle claim to be for the well being of Missoula County Public Schools?

P.S. I sure hope they don't dare ask me to pay higher taxes for the IT mill levy, I've never seen a 13% pay raise in this family.

truelimegreen
truelimegreen

I really thought that Apostle would turn down the raise last night. After the attending many MCPS meetings after the school closures in 2004 (which devastated not only my family and many more and continue to have a hugely negative effect on our district), and witnessing malfeasance, sneakiness, mismanagement of funds and facilities, in other words corruption, I guess I’m not really that surprised.
Many people last night spoke about how the new programs being implemented by Apostle and Rehbein in addition to the raise have affected the general fund. They are absolutely right on. For example, who really knows how much the International Baccalaureate (IB) is costing us. The district is not forthcoming with this information.
MCPS corruption has been going on for years. The MCPS Board in the last couple of decades or so, however, has reached a dangerous level. One area of this corruption is in its SUPPORT OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS. Trustees Harrison, Hemphill, REHBEIN, BIXLER, AND TOTH voted to sell Roosevelt School to the private St. Josephs School, a school we desperately need at this time.
There has been and will continue to be huge loses to our district, for example, resulting from the lease of one of our most popular public schools, Prescott School, to a private school, Missoula International School.
The lease of a public school to a private school is quite devastating to the general fund. In 2004, a math professor stated in a June 8, 2004 letter to the editor that if more than 5 of our MCPS students attend MIS the district could potentially stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since 2004, MIS has become an elite private school residing in one of OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. This has been made possible by DISLOYAL AND IMPRUDENT MCPS Trustees such as the ones listed above in addition to KNAPP, WILLS, SMITH, PICKHARDT, and perhaps others. Throughout the years estimates of the loss to the district due to this lease has been in the $300,000 to $500,000 range PER YEAR (MIS had 33 students in 2004 and now has about 160 or more) – ALL COMING OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND.
Many people criticized Chairwoman Toni Rehbein last night for a variety of reasons and RIGHTFULLY SO. Rehbein is connected to the above concern with the Prescott/MIS lease as shortly before she was elected to the Board she served as president for two years and vice president for a year on the MISSOULA INTERNATIONAL SHOOL BOARD!!! Rehbein was also the go-to person for the lease of the fairgrounds building which MIS leased. Her name is on every lease agreement (this information was obtained by the fair office. ) In other words, Rehbein has had VERY STRONG TIES TO MIS.
Rehbein has used her position to help her friends at MIS for the entire time she has been in office. She has not voted for the lease, however, she has voiced her support many times.
The first item on the agenda for the new board in May, which I hope has replacements for not only Rehbein, but for Bixler, Toth, and Lemm for they all have despicable records when it comes to assisting private schools AND GIVING HIGH ADMINISTRATIVE RAISES, IS TO GIVE NOTICE TO MISSOULA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL THAT THEIR LEASE WILL NOT BE EXTENDED IN 2017. After Prescott School is vacated by MIS it needs to be reopened to its rightful owners, Missoula's PUBLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN.
Last night I heard people complain about crowded conditions in our schools. Not only does Prescott School need to be reopened but others as well. This is another order of business for the new board.
Good Luck to people running for the Board in May against the incumbents!
Incidentally, I do not blame the woman that yelled at Drake Lemm during his ridiculous comments. This is what many of us citizens have felt like doing for years!

.

IMHO
IMHO

I voted no on the last mill levy because of the raise Apostle got. I felt like a heel to vote against our children, but I just couldn't get over the fact that somehow the money was not necessarily going to be used on the kids.
This time I will again vote against the mill levy. I know it won't be used for its intended purpose, or at least will be earmarked for the purpose only to permit these extravagances to continue.
It is a sad day when the board tells us that Dr. Apostle is a leader and 900 of those whom he is leading vote against him and the board. I wonder now, who is he leading? Is it simply the 6 people who vote for him?
Vote them out please, then we can start to believe in the mill levies to help our children.

dave ajou
dave ajou

As revolting as it is, did anyone actually expect anything different ? This is how things work in Missoula these days. School Board, MCPS administration, City Council, County Commissioners, Mayor's office, animal control and parking commission. And on and on. They all want more money, they ignore the public even in the face of overwhelming opposition. They smile and nod, pound each other on the back, circle their wagons and put their collective foot on our neck. We are expected to be grateful, and silent. And so it goes.

BobbyLee
BobbyLee

Ditto all these comments.

By now I would think most people know what sort of a person Apostle is. Well, here's a primer, it pegs him quite well:

"How to spot a sociopath - 10 red flags that could save you from being swept under the influence of a charismatic nut job":

http://www.naturalnews.com/036112_sociopaths_cults_influence.html

stopduienddeath
stopduienddeath

I would strongly disagree with the Board Of Trustees. After the Sandy Hook deaths, Apostle was quoted as saying he and his team would be working to make the schools safer for the children. Something he should have been doing all along. After 9-11 a directive was placed on Montana educators to beef up their emergency plans. Keep their schools locked and unable to be accessed by outside. Yet, none of those things has he done. In fact he openly admitted in the Missoulian that he would be putting a team together to work on protecting the children. The Team should have already been implemented. The Plans already written, drills already worked on and yet he is just now getting around to working on the safety of our children??? He even put uniformed officers at each school for several days regarding the Sandy Hook incident. Doesn't sound to me like he has a plan to keep our children safe. Where is his SuperStar status now? I hear from our teachers that they cannot even have a postage stamp to mail home a letter to a parent they have made repeated attempts to reach by phone or email. Students don't have supplies and unless teachers reach into their own pockets of hard earned cash to provide them, they won't get them either. When Doctor Apostle was the last time you reached into your hard earned "SUPERSTAR" income and bought a teacher a dozen stamps, some notebook paper, a few pencils? Give back your raise. Understand that hard times have fallen on everyone across the country and a 13% raise is ludacrious unless the Missoula School Board Trustees think they are bankers. When was the last time youre teachers who implement your directives and are the real superstars got a 13% raise? I think you know the answer.

Roger
Roger

So Apostle allegedly cut dropout rates and increased graduation rates? Exactly WHAT did he do to boost those things? By lowering standards, probably - how else could he do it? It's disgusting that these Apostle worshipers still don't get it.

oboink59
oboink59

As an Employee and a Parent of MCPS. I sat and listen to the 3 hours of rebutals and the best one I heard was a student who had stated"Your Graduation doesn't matter it is Education that matters. Graduation will follow the education." I knew it was a done deal as soon as I sat down and the Board went through the minutes. I just hope you (Board) can live with them selfs for short changing our students and Kids. Remember the People of Missoula who not to vote for in the up coming School Board elections.

walter12
walter12

By Montana standards the MCPS administrators are paid well already. Some work hard and some hardly work. No, this Apostle does not deserve such a large raise. But here is the question to ponder, why do so many of the MCPS staff not like this man? Why does he bug them so? His he upsetting their little closeted world? Or is their dislike valid?

Concerned about Montana
Concerned about Montana

A true leader or "superstar" leads by example. A true leader or "superstar" doesn't ask his employees to do something he himself wouldn't do. It's just that simple. When Dr. Apostle asked MCPS employees to remember why they chose education as a career emphasizing it was due to their great care for the education of our children he should have led by example.

Pistol
Pistol

Apostle didn't refer to himself as "superstar" the board member did. The protesters should spend there energy, and time with constructive ideas on to improve education in Missoula.

alpine11rider
alpine11rider

protesters are at the mercy of Apostles failing programs.

Concerned about Montana
Concerned about Montana

Here's a way to improve education. Put the soft money the district found for Apostle's raise for this year ($30,000) back into the general fund where it can be used toward educating students.

random_rez_kid
random_rez_kid

I wonder if Apostle will be big enough to show that he does care by rejecting the raise or prove that he doesn't by accepting it. And if by some miracle he does reject it, will the board members who voted for the raise apologize. I hope so because even though I don't even live in the district, it's always a shame to see the students hurt (no levies by the sound of it coming their way) by poor decisions of adults.

Parkway
Parkway

As I stated once before.....I am an employee of the school district. For 9 years I have worked in one of the most difficult classrooms .......dedicated myself to the school and students.
I think it's ironic that after 9 years my children remain on the free lunch program because my income qualifies them to do so.
What's wrong with this picture????? Do you see the irony here????
A dedicated full time employee who has to rely on food stamps,LIEP and Medicaid for my children.
Thank God Alex got HIS raise......I am sure he needed it.

LLRain
LLRain

I think Drake Lemm has a major league man crush on Alex.

Sukey
Sukey

I'm so so sorry parents, kids, and teachers. You deserved better and bigger. A better person out for bigger goals, not a bigger income. In a time of extreme financial hardships I don't know how this Superstar looks himself in the mirror. What kind of an example is he setting for the kids in his district. Point their little noses in the direction of Sanders County Senator Jennifer Fielder, she's giving half of her Senate salary to charity, and Senators aren't that well paid. I pray she picks several good ones, there's a lot of "charities" whose main support is to the people who run the charity..

ScottAftem
ScottAftem

Spokane didn't want him, so he figured he'd juice the citizens of Missoula for every last dime. Greedy SOB!

hellgatenights
hellgatenights

Folks......forget the mill levy already. We pay too much taxes now, as we see here, it is just foolishly spent.We have a narcissistic superintendent and then we have Toni R and her coven, whom are all just plain baffled. They don't understand why you are upset......this is the "Progressive Way,".......this is the Mayor Engen and Obama and Max Baucus way too.

Clearly you people are just not educated enough to embrace the future.....let me give you a look.

In the future......you "Working class stock" types will continue to see your net worth and living standard erode. And as your living standard goes down, your taxes will go up. BUT......you will have subsidized healthcare, 30hr work weeks (those that have a job), and you will all have a nice little apartment. Welcome.........to Paris, Montana.

dodge1111
dodge1111

After listening to over 3 hours of impassioned comments by well spoken students, teachers and angry tax payers alike I was STUNNED when this MCPS Board essentially dismissed EVERY SINGLE comment in their rebuttals one trustee after another. They DIDN'T HEAR ONE THING SAID. I guess a 96% Vote of No Confidence by over 900 school teachers means absolutely nothing to them. I've never seen such arrogance in my life! Not to mention it was only AFTER all the teachers left that Apostle spoke out in his own defense basically tooting his own horn about the Denny Washington grant he secured. Than to watch the 3 District Administrators particularly Heather Davis Schmidt be all smiles and jovial during her regularly scheduled was just the icing on the cake- I wanted to scream at her...were you just at the same meeting I watched? Obviously like the MCPS board members, she is not the "brightest crayon in the box". She couldn't even wipe the smile off of her face. If it weren't so sad..it would actually be comical. For anyone who DVR'd this pay particular attention to Heather Davis Schmidt's curious demeanor. All I can say is she had to have been totally checked out during the public comments. I think they were all "checked out". I've never seen a bigger group of scheisters in my entire life-

Toni I noticed you shed a tear or two in your rebuttal..I believe those were tears of "knowing" that you will not be re-elected to this board- First public outcry in 2010 "shame on you"...Second public outcry on February 12, 2013 "Shame on Us" if any of you yahoos are re-elected. After listening to each and every one of you talk after the public comments I couldn't believe that every single one of the young students who spoke out tonight actually sounded more intelligent, poised and focused than you. The good thing that has come from this is ANYBODY who runs against ANY OF YOU in future elections will defeat you. It will not even be a competition -- they will not even have to spend any money to campaign. You should all hang your head in shame!

nemo
nemo

Thank you for taking the time to log your impressions of the meeting, it is of great help to those who can't attend such events. If the board members are so blinded by their agenda that they can't see reality staring them in the face then shame on us if we allow it to continue. We are the roadblocks that will force a detour and a new direction. "He humbles me with his humility", I think I just urped in my mouth, a lot. Viva la May revolucion!

momof5
momof5

I am the parent of 4 MCPS students, I am a tax paying member of this community, and I am the wife of a school district employee. Alex Apostle's raise was more than my husband makes in a year. I will not vote for any mill levy's until this board is votes out of office. I have talked to other parents who have written down the name of the members who voted for the levy so they can vote against them in May and against the levy. It is a shame what this board has done to this community.

John P Weber
John P Weber

Those 6 board members have betrayed this community with that pay raise and have shown that they care more about one man than our childrens education and our teachers and the districts classified staff. these board members should be recalled and even barred from serving this comunity in any capaicty. These 6 board members are traitors to Missoula and Missoula familys.

Everyday person
Everyday person

When Toni Rehbein and Alex Apostle are gone, I'll start voting for mill levy increases (again). Until then, no way. These corrupted, self-aggrandizing gold-diggers -- who play a significant role in our children's lives (!!) -- have violated the public trust. They must go.

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