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Union reps move to replace school board members

Published On: Feb 01 2013 05:51:26 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 01 2013 10:26:58 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

We have new information about the debate over a controversial pay raise for Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Alex Apostle. 

NBC Montana broke the story when the school board voted to give Apostle a 13 percent pay raise; bringing his yearly salary to $200,000 in three years.  This comes after last year’s 25-cent an hour raise for staff and a pay freeze for teachers the year before.   

A source sent us an email from the Missoula Education Association that says union leadership has asked its members to consider a vote of no confidence against six of 10 board members; those six are the ones who voted for Apostle's pay raise.

The email was distributed to nearly 1,000 Missoula County Public School employees from teachers and custodians to I.T. workers.

One section says, “We want to publicly show our distrust in those board members to encourage others in the community, who are behind us, to step up and run for a board seat.”

NBC Montana talked to trustee Scott Bixler and he agreed. 

“If someone’s unhappy with the direction our board is taking they really need to get involved, they need to attend meetings and they need to offer suggestions,” said Bixler.  “Most of all they need to run for a trustee position if they feel that they have a better way or a better idea of what our board needs to do.”

The letter appears to come from Union Representative Melanie Charlson, who told NBC Montana, "We're having a variety of conversations about the next steps including potential action.”

Bixler says the only vote that counts is that of the people because trustees are elected to their positions and while the trustees were split over Apostle’s raise; they’re unanimous in giving him high praise in his evaluation. 

“The evaluation that the board made of Dr. Apostle was unanimous and we did offer to extend his contract for three years,” said Bixler.  “The board has the full confidence of Dr. Apostle and what he's doing.”  

The letter outlines MEA’s plans to move forward with a vote of no confidence, starting with continued discussion at the Board of Directors meeting on February 5.

To read the full letter click here.