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Superintendent Salaries Targeted in Budget Cuts
posted by: Alix | February 07, 2011, 04:38 PM   

Recently governors across the country have made national headlines bringing the salaries of district superintendents to light. While all of these salaries are a matter of public record, the public has become particularly outraged with the astronomical salaries of administrators at a time when school systems everywhere are seeking to cut back.

With Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calling for "doing more with less" in education spending, school districts are feeling the heat of budget shortfalls. Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called out Long Island Superintendent Carole G. Hankin over her $386,868 salary, more than any other in the state.

"I applied for that job," the governor joked, adding that he had decided to run for the state's top job, which pays a mere $179,000, only after he had been rejected for the position. "I understand that they sometimes have to manage budgets, and sometimes the budgets are difficult," he said. "But why they get paid more than the governor of the state I really don't understand."

The Governor's comments reflect those of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a few months ago. He also highlighted that many school superintendents made over and above what the state's chief executive made. Christie is now advocating for a cap of $175,000 on most superintendents' salaries.

While these inflated salaries seem astronomical, according to the Educational Research Service, the average salary of school superintendent is $160,000, quite a bit by anyone's standard especially in certain parts of the country.

School administrators argue that they deserve the high salaries citing high pressure jobs and long hours. "The state and the schools are facing difficult times that ultimately require strong leadership," prefaced Robert N. Lowry Jr., the deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. "Superintendents are trying to provide that leadership, and in many districts, they have passed up raises or made other concessions to save money for their districts and also to set an example."

Lowry elaborated that focusing on these isolated high salaries pales in comparison to cutting funding to education programs and teacher salaries.

While being a school superintendent is certainly a difficult job, it will be interesting to see if political pressure eventually changes this pay scale. Only time will tell if governors can get the support they need to refocus the funding to education programs instead of six figure administrative salaries.

Do you think administrators should take a pay cut?
Comment below.

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