Should a person who earns $42,679 a year as superintendent of a large suburban school system be allowed to take on outside employment?
Walter L. Frankland, a member of the Arlington County Board, thinks not. He wanted a public hearing held on the question before the school board decided whether to reappoint Supt. Larry Cuban to the post Cuban has held since September, 1974.
"If we're going to pay him that kind of money," said Frankland recently, "he should be a full-time employee"
Cuban, whose reappointment by the school board was expected last night despite Frankland's objections, defends the work he does as a consultant to a number of national groups researching educational issues.
That work, he says, relates to his job as head of the Arlington school system.Furthermore, he says he is not paid for most of the assignments he gets.
Cuban also has the support of of school board members, who say his outside activities contribute additional status and prestige to their school system.
Such support is not granted everywhere in the Washington area's school systems. The question of whether well-paid public employees should be spending time and making money outside their appointed tasks is receiving increasing attention.
In Prince George's County, Supt. Edward J. Feeney's contract with the County Board of Education prohibits him from doing any outside work at all. Feeney, who is paid $45,000 a year, says his board "thinks" I should didicate myself to the job full time. There's more than enough to do right here."
Around the Washington area, policy, varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Most school systems permit some outside work subject to prior approval of the school board. The Prince George's board is the only one to flatly rule out outside assignments.
Attitudes toward consulting work also varies among the superintendents themselves. D.C. Supt. Vincent C. Reed who, at an annual salary of $39,500 is the lowest paid school superintendent in the area, never has done any outside work. A spokesman said Reed did not see where he "could possible find the time."
Montgomery County School Supt. Charles M. Bernardo, on the other hand, makes $48,000 a year and has a clause in his contract with his school board that allows him to accept paid consulting assignments "in order to maintain his professional skills and knowledge." The contract requires Bernardo to receive permission from the board before accepting such an assignment. A Montgomery County schools spokesperson said, that Bernardo had yet to take on such an assignment.
John C. Albohm, who is retiring in June after 14 years as head of Alexandria's school system, said he sees "a trend among the newer, younger men to get involved" in consulting work. "It's good for image building, "he said, and there is nothing wrong with it as long as there is "no conflict of interest." Albohm, who earns $44,000 a year as superintendent, said his present job is "totally demanding on my time and energy" and therefore he has done no additional work.
Fairfax County School Supt. S. John Davis, who at $48,160 is the highest paid superintendent in the area, said he received an honorarium of $250 several years ago for work he did for the University of Virginia. Davis said he donated the money to the County Council of PTAs.
In addition, Davis said he had taught an evening course at George Mason University and is now teaching one at Virginia Polytechnic Institute for which he is being paid $1,000. Davis said he probably would not accept any outside work that would take him away from his duties during regular working hours - "the work just piles up," he said.
Arlington Supt. Cuban has been by far the most active in exercising an option to do outside work.
That work, he said, included a two-day stint last October helping the Educational Testing Service revise its standardized American history examination, two days of work for the Standford Research Institute in September, 1975, advising it how secondary schools might utilize U.S. programs for the disadvantaged, "four or five" days as a member of a national task force doing research on school organization, and a one-day workshop for the Winston-Salem, N.C., school system on how to use a history textbook he wrote.
In each case, he said, he had used one of the 10 days of professional leave he was entitled to worked on a weekend or had taken leave without pay. He said he got no money for any of the work except for one of the days he worked for the task force, when he received "a standard honorarium." A county school school official said Cuban received $150 from the National Institute of Education for that day.