Over the past few weeks, Oklahoma Watchdog has published a couple stories dealing with the salaries of school superintendents. The Superintendent Salary Report included compensation figures covering the last four years and was then compared to the schools on the Needs Improvement List and then the enrollment data.
Last week, I was interviewed as part of a story on FOX 25 in Oklahoma City and mentioned that salaries which may appear to be high or out-of-step with student performance are not the fault of the Legislature or the Department of Education. We – voters – are the problem.
The compensation for every school district superintendent is determined by that district’s school board. They are the taxpayer’s representative, yet in most cases board members are voted in by a tiny percentage of the people they represent. For example, the Moore School District has over 22,000 students, yet only 4,000 people voted on a bond issue last year. Only 48 people voted in a school board race in Earlsboro, a district with 222 students.
You may want to consider starting off 2012 with a new resolution to attend more school board meetings. I know I have which is why I will be at the Norman School Board meeting tonight at 5pm. If you can’t attend the meetings, at least make sure you are familiar with the candidates for school board elections coming up next month and make an informed choice in the voting booth. And encourage your family members, friends and co-workers to do the same.