Berg Rewarded with Big Raise After Referendum

January 27, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveKim Murphy
Citizen Reporter

Schools districts across the state are crying out for more money, but Lexington-Richland District 5 apparently has little problem paying out big bucks to those at the top.

For example, district Superintendent Herb Berg recently had his contract extended for two more years at $195,000 per annum. That makes him one of the top-paid superintendents in South Carolina.

Berg joined Lexington-Richland 5 in August 2008 on a temporary basis at $163,950, after then-Superintendent Scott Andersen resigned amid controversy.

In November 2008, Berg was officially named superintendent, shortly after Lexington-Richland 5’s $243.7 million bond referendum passed. Similar referendums had failed in 2005 and 2007.

What was interesting about Berg’s hiring was that his his salary was set at $195,000, an increase of nearly $24,000 over what Andersen was earning when he left three months earlier, and a $40,000 boost from what Andersen was making three months prior to that.

Although there was no pay increase included in Berg’s recent extension, one could be added later.

Yet, according to information found on the district’s website, last year more than $3.5 million had to be cut from the district budget due to cuts from the state. In addition, about 75 jobs were eliminated last spring because of overstaffing and aid cuts, according to a report in The State newspaper.

The district never gave an official reason for Berg’s big bump in pay in November 2008, but the timing – coming just days after passage of the Berg-led bond referendum that had been voted down twice before – certainly raised more than a few eyebrows among those in the district.

Kim Murphy and her family live in Chapin. She serves on the State Workforce Investment Act Board and the Richland County Appearance Commission.