Letter perpetuates attorney’s fuzzy math

Paul Cianci’s letter on Friday’s Opinion page contained the same fuzzy math that prompted a correction of his report in the first place.

Altoona Area School District Superintendent Dennis Murray’s contract says that, at a minimum, his yearly salary must be raised by 1 percent above the annual Pennsylvania cost of living adjustment increase.

In the three years from 2010-12, Murray received less in average salary increases than what he was entitled under his contract, just as, over the last 20 years, he earned $7,000 less than his past contracts required. The correct math proves it.

From 2010-12, Murray’s salary increased an average of 2.3 percent (5 percent in 2010, 0 percent in 2011 and 2 percent in 2012). Over those same three years, the average Pennsylvania COLA increase was 2.49 percent (2.8 percent in 2010, 1.67 percent in 2011 and 3 percent in 2010).

The last we checked, 2.3 is less than 2.49. The math shows that Murray was short-changed, and that’s without even considering the additional 1 percent above COLA that Murray’s contract says he should have gotten.

Murray sacrificed a lot – his pay being only a part of it – during his 29 years as superintendent of the Altoona Area School District. But under Murray’s leadership, AASD provided quality educational and extracurricular opportunities to its students while keeping tax increases to the absolute minimum.

The AASD board’s claims and ongoing witch hunt are an unforgivable, factually deficient effort by board President Ryan Beers and his crew to shift the blame for their own failings to Murray. Murray doesn’t deserve this.

The board’s Philadelphia lawyers have already admitted to a major error in their report, the same report that forms the basis of the board’s so-called “findings” against Murray.

What other mistakes are in that purportedly “impartial” report? Murray doesn’t know, because the board won’t let him see it. Just like their math, Murray’s accusers practice fuzzy fairness, too.

Kyle R. Bahr

Reed Smith LLP, Pittsburgh

Attorney for Dennis Murray