January 31, 2023

The Nerve

Where Government Gets Exposed

$136K Instructor Puts in Half Day During Summer

The NerveWhen word got out that Lexington/Richland School District 5 allowed ex-administrator Lee Bollman to retain his six-figure salary even though he’d moved back into teaching, officials deflected criticism by stating Bollman was working a full calendar year, rather than the typical 190-day teaching schedule.

While District 5’s assertion that Bollman’s contract included an additional 50-day assignment is technically accurate, it also seems somewhat disingenuous given that Bollman is currently working half days teaching summer school.

Bollman, who went from being the chief instructional services officer of Lexington/Richland School District 5 in 2008-09 to splitting time teaching science at a pair of district schools this past year, has been teaching summer school at Chapin High since the end of the school year earlier this month, according to district officials.

For that and his work during the school year, he’s being paid $136,128, likely making him the best-paid public high school teacher in all of South Carolina. With benefits, his total compensation is nearly $174,250.

Pro-rating Bollman’s salary, he’s earning $2,836 a week for working half days teaching summer school, which runs Monday through Thursday. His 50 days of supplemental work works out to $28,360.

By comparison, the average salary for public school teachers in South Carolina was a little more than $47,400 in FY 2008-09, according to the S.C. Department of Education.

Bollman’s schedule doesn’t appear to be too rigorous, either.

According to calls placed to Chapin High, Bollman apparently teaches two morning summer school session: from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. However, he isn’t involved in the 12:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m. session.

Bollman could not be reached for comment.

Bollman’s salary not only makes him the third-highest paid employee in Lexington/Richland School District 5 – behind only Superintendent Herb Berg and District Human Resources Director Angela Bain – but means he earns substantially more than the two principals he worked under this past school year.

Chapin High School Principal Michael Satterfield earned $114,029 while Chapin Middle School Principal Jane Crawford made $99,602.

Bollman will begin a new contract in August that will pay him $72,256, the maximum he can earn given his experience and education, District 5 spokesman Buddy Price said. He will teach science at Chapin High and be under a regular teaching contract.

Bollman was able to retain his $136,000-plus salary for the 2009-10 school year because he asked to be reassigned after he was already under contract for that year, Price said.

“He requested to be reassigned and he was already under contract,” he added. “As a result, in this case his salary was already set, even though he’d moved from administration to teaching.”

While Lexington/Richland 5 is one of the more affluent districts in the state, it’s not been unaffected by the recent financial downturn. Last year the district eliminated more than 60 teaching jobs, which the district attributed to flattening enrollment within the district.

(But that hasn’t kept Berg or school board members from talking about another bond referendum, less than two years after a $243 million referendum passed.)

Bollman had been a top official with District 5 for several years, even serving as interim superintendent in 2005, following Dennis McMahon’s dismissal by the district board.

He also assumed day-to-day management responsibilities the following year when interim superintendent TEC Dowling became ill.

In 2006, Bollman was one of nine candidates considered for the superintendent’s position, which eventually went to Scott Andersen.

In 2008-09, he served as the district’s chief instructional services officer. In April 2009, he requested to be released from that assignment, effective April 1, 2009, according to information from the district.

Bollman then performed responsibilities assigned by the district superintendent for the remainder of the 2008-09 school year.

Reach Dietrich at (803) 779-5022, ext. 110, or kevin@scpolicycouncil.com.

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The Nerve