|Back to October Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 189||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||OCTOBER 2001|
|School Superintendents Earn CEO Salaries|
CHICAGO, IL - Six-figure salaries are now commonplace among school superintendents, especially in big cities. In the Chicago area, 16 superintendents earned more than $200,000 in salaries and bonuses last school year, according to the Chicago Tribune (10/3/01). The state's highest-paid chief, Superintendent Robert Lopatka (now retired) of Dupage High School District 88, earned $321,184, including retirement incentives, vacation pay and contributions to the teacher retirement fund. More than 850 Illinois superintendents averaged $108,000 last school year, up $6,600 from the previous year.
Illinois superintendents aren't the only ones making big bucks. The Montgomery County, Maryland, school board hired superintendent Jerry Weast in the fall of 1999 for $237,000 a year plus benefits. According to the Washington Times (4/3/00), Weast isn't the only metro Washington, D.C. chief earning in excess of $200,000.
In Dallas, Texas, school superintendent Bill Rojas makes at least $260,000 plus benefits (Education Week 11/3/99). The Denver, Colorado school superintendent earns $142,000 plus insurance, a car allowance, and a 4% bonus if district goals are met. In Philadelphia, the school district's top administrator earns about $170,000 per year.
Reasons for these soaring superintendent salaries range from a purported shortage of candidates to the fact that school chiefs must deal with school violence, hostile parents and teacher strikes. Apologists point out that, although superintendents do not receive stock options or other company perks, they must - like CEOs - shoulder the blame for mistakes, tragedies and failed policies.