More than two-thirds of school superintendents are taking home more money this year than last year, according to data provided by the State Department of Education and compiled by Oklahoma Watchdog. This, despite an appropriations cut of 4% or nearly $100-million to the State Department of Education this year.
How much does your superintendent make?
Every year, the State Department of Education releases a report showing the total compensation for district superintendents (click here to see the original report). But the report only has one year’s worth of data, is not in a sortable spreadsheet and lists the districts grouped by county rather than in alphabetical order. Oklahoma Watchdog has compiled four years of salary data and put it into one report which you can see by clicking here. (The spreadsheet that the report is based on cannot be uploaded to the website, but is available on request by emailing email@example.com)
There are 522 districts in the state, each with a superintendent. Of those:
- 356 got at least a dollar more this year than last year.
- 289 got at least $100 more this year than last year.
- 208 got at least $1,000 more this year than last year.
- 93 got at least $5,000 more this year than last year.
- 49 got at least $10,000 more this year than last year.
- 20 got at least $15,000 more this year than last year.
- 9 got at least $20,000 more this year than last year.
- 26 are making the exact amount they made last year
- 140 got at least $1 less this year than last year.
- 132 got at least $100 less this year than last year.
- 107 got at least $1,000 less this year than last year.
- 70 got at least $5,000 less this year than last year.
- 39 got at least $10,000 less this year than last year.
- 30 got at least $15,000 less this year than last year.
- 21 got at least $20,000 less this year than last year.
Compensation is more than just salary
The report supplied by the State Department of Education gives total compensation for superintendents which is broken down into several categories. All superintendents receive a salary, but some get additional compensation such as money for health coverage or retirement contributions.
In smaller districts, the superintendent’s compensation can be split between administrative salary and payment for being a teacher or athletic coach. Compensation can also include a car or travel allowance (57 superintendents get one), dues for professional organizations (60), annuities or CDs (11) and housing (7).
As a result, there can be wide fluctuations in compensation from one year to the next. For example, a superintendent getting $20,000 more this year than last year might be teaching in a classroom, replacing a teacher who made more than that for a net decrease in cost to the district.
Data is self-reported
The State Department of Education’s report is based on information each district provides. Because of that, there is the possibility that the data is incorrect or incomplete. For example, the salary listed for the superintendent of Timberlake is $15,000 this year while each of the previous years it was over $100,000. It’s not clear from the report whether this is an error in reporting by the district, a transcription error at the Department of Education (perhaps it was entered at $15,000 instead of $105,000) or if the superintendent actually took an 86% pay cut.
In the same way, with so many superintendents getting fringe benefits like retirement and health insurance, it sticks out when a district reports only a salary. Is the superintendent paying for health insurance out of the salary? Is it not offered? Or is it not being reported, but should?
The statewide total compensation to superintendents is lower this year than last year by $105,000 but five school districts were annexed or consolidated last year (Boynton-Moton, Pickett-Center, Plainview (Cimarron County), Pleasant Grove (Seminole County) and Wakita). When you take those salaries out of the 2010-11 data and only compare the 522 districts existing this year and last year, overall compensation increased by $203,000.
While National Board Certified Teachers did not get their $5,000 stipend this year due to a lack of funds, 93 of the 522 superintendents in the state got compensation increases of at least $5,000.
The average superintendent compensation is $98,434 and the median is $96,000.
216 superintendents received at least $100,000 which is up from 207 superintendents last year.
57 district superintendents make more than State Superintendent Janet Barresi whose salary is set by statute at roughly $124,400. That’s up from 54 last year.
22 superintendents make more than Governor Fallin’s salary of $147,000 which is set by statute. That’s the same number as last year.
3 superintendents make more than $200,000 (Jenks, Union, Ponca City) which is one less than last year (Tulsa dropped to $181,000).