Home  >  Mississippi  >  Superintendent pay isn’t always a sign of success in Mississippi

Superintendent pay isn’t always a sign of success in Mississippi

By   /   August 24, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

Graph by Steve Wilson

HIGHLY PAID: Of Mississippi’s 36 most highly-paid school district superintendents, nine are running failing districts.


Mississippi is proving it’s hard to tie student outcomes to superintendent pay, as many district leaders with large salaries aren’t seeing much academic success.

Of the state’s most highly paid superintendents, nine run below-average districts with a D grade from the Mississippi Department of Education’s most recent accountability grades, according to data from See the School Spending, a website from the conservative-leaning Mississippi Center for Public Policy. The site takes data from the MDE and places it into an interactive, sortable form, with the most recent superintendent salary data from 2014.

Another eight well-paid superintendents are in charge of C districts, which is considered the state average in the annual accountability scores for districts and individual schools. The other 16 districts received A and B grades from the MDE.

Related: Mississippi governor is far from state’s highest paid public official

Another area where spending more money doesn’t always get more performance is in per-pupil spending. Pro-school choice organization Empower Mississippi completed a recent survey of the state’s most recent accountability scores (from 2015) against each district’s per-pupil spending (from the 2013-2014 school year). Of the 10 lowest in terms of per-pupil spending, there were only two C or average districts, with the rest scoring an A or a B.

The 10 highest-spending districts didn’t have an A grade among them, with one B, seven Cs and two Ds.

State taxpayers spent more than $2 billion on K-12 in fiscal 2017, the fifth consecutive year under the GOP-led Legislature that K-12 spending has increased.

“If spending lots of money guaranteed greater outcomes in public education, Washington, D.C., would have one of the best education systems in the nation instead of one of the worst,” said Grant Callen, president of Empower Mississippi. “Mississippi is no different. If money alone were the solution to our education problems, Mississippi’s system would be much better than it is, because we have been steadily increasing public education funding since the 1970s.”

Contact Steve Wilson at [email protected]. Get regular updates on Mississippi through our Facebook or Twitter accounts.

This story was changed to reflect the year of the available salary data


Steve Wilson is the Mississippi reporter for Watchdog.org. Beginning his career as a sports writer, he has worked for the Mobile Press-Register (Ala.), the LaGrange Daily News (Ga.), Highlands Today (Fla.),McComb Enterprise-Journal (Miss.), the Biloxi Sun Herald(Miss.) and the Vicksburg Post (Miss.) Steve's work has appeared on Fox News, the Huffington Post and the Daily Signal. His bachelor's degree is in journalism with a minor in political science from the University of Alabama. Steve is also a member of the Mississippi Press Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He served four-plus years in the United States Coast Guard after his high school graduation and is a native of Mobile, Ala.