Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 17
$158,000 and those appointed by boards
are paid $222,000.
State chiefs typically make around
the same salaries as other agency heads
in their states.
Yet the pay situation remains unpredictable. Indiana's governor this year
signed into law a measure making the
state chief a position appointed by the
governor rather than elected as of 2021.
Under the new law, the governor can set
The pool of those willing to serve as
state superintendents has significantly
shrunk and many state boards and
governors have in recent years resorted
to hiring superintendents from other
states, industries, or, as in West Virginia's case, brought former chiefs out
Hawaii earlier this year hired Christina Kishimoto, who was a district superintendent in Gilbert, Ariz.
In order to lure her 3,000 miles away,
the state is paying her $240,000 to oversee the state's single, unified school district, which has 182,000 students. That's
$40,000 more than former Hawaii chief
Kathryn Matayoshi and $90,000 more
than Matayoshi's predecessor made.
But Hawaii, for the most part, is an
exception. About half the nation's chiefs
were paid either the same or less than
Upping the Ante?
In Ohio, state school board members
and legislative leaders in early 2016
toyed with the idea of paying their recently hired state chief $1 million a
year-comparable to how much some of
the state's college football coaches make.
"How are we going to pull serious people for a serious job?" board member C.
Todd Jones said at a meeting in which
a consultant estimated how much competing state chiefs were making. "We
need to stop quibbling. Quit whining
about this being a lot of money."
In the end, the board hired Paolo DeMaria, a longtime state bureaucrat, at
$180,000, which is $12,000 less than his
DeMaria asked to be paid at a rate
similar to other state agency heads and
was given a shot at earning a $20,000
incentive bonus for improving the operation of the department of education.
Next month, the board is expected to
give DeMaria a 2 percent increase and
that $20,000 incentive bonus for "success relative to leadership, communication and policy making."
Meanwhile, the responsibilities of
state chiefs keep piling up.
This past season, several states' legislatures, in quick succession, strengthened the powers of their departments to
carry out a slew of initiatives this fall.
As part of passing a new K-12 funding
formula, Washington state's legislature
ramped up the duties of its state superintendent to crack down on districts
that were overspending and under performing.
The superintendent of public instruction makes $134,000, an amount that
state chief Chris Reykdal called "a disincentive." He will receive a 2 percent cost
of living adjustment this year.
"It's been quite a long time since a
local superintendent of reputable high
quality has put their hat in the ring for
statewide superintendent," he said.
Data specialist/staff writer Francisco
Vara-Orta and librarian Maya RiserKositsky contributed to this article.
Hiring Deals Include More Than Base Pay
By Daarel Burnette II
There's plenty more to state chiefs' hiring
agreements and contracts than just base pay.
Those documents are chock-full of sweeteners
and performance incentives, as well as hardnosed details about duties and-in at least one
case-the tacit suggestion that the superintendent needs to stay healthy.
An Education Week review of state superintendents' contracts, offer letters, and benefits packages also provides insights into the
evolving nature of state chiefs' jobs in the
Every Student Succeeds Act era and some of
what's needed to lure candidates.
The vast majority of state chiefs serve "at
will," and their job duties and pay are dictated
in state statutes, some of which haven't been
updated in years.
But, amid disputes among state school boards,
legislatures, and governors over policy direction,
at least 10 state boards have decided to outline
in superintendents' contracts and hiring letters
broad definitions of the chiefs' roles and tack on
incentives that can attract top applicants. Longevity can be an issue. The average state chief
now serves about two years due to the increasingly political and high-profile nature of the job.
"If you can get the board and the chief on
the same page at the beginning with a shared
set of expectations, you can probably stretch
out that tenure," said Kristen Amundson, the
president and CEO of the National Association
of State Boards of Education.
Some states' contracts are explicit about
goal-setting and rewards.
Ohio, for example, offers its state chief
$20,000 in incentives to, among other goals,
boost test scores and graduation rates.
Maryland chief Karen Salmon is eligible for
up to $35,000 in incentives-15 percent of her
pay-for boosting the state's graduation rate,
closing achievement gaps, and improving the
state's juvenile-detention center.
But Salmon has taken issue with those provisions since taking the job last year.
"I've asked for them not to award me that
money," Salmon said. Instead, she said, she
should be provided incentives on the success of
policy implementation, such as the state's new
accountability system and assuring that local
districts follow state law. "I don't think I can
directly impact academics in local districts. I
can't wave a magic wand over the state and
everything all of a sudden gets better."
Hitting the Road
In other states, superintendents are provided hefty travel allowances.
Georgia's state superintendent, Richard Woods,
for example, gets a $20,000 annual car allowance
to visit with the state's 181 districts. It's a reflection of the traveling and community outreach he's
expected to do according to the state constitution.
Superintendent contracts in some states
have taken center stage in recent months as
state chiefs institute controversial policies and
as state board members and politicians move
to oust them.
Louisiana Superintendent John White is
under fire from recently elected Democratic
Gov. John Bel Edwards for turning in an accountability plan to the U.S. Department of
Education that many of the state's district superintendents and principals disagree with.
Last month, Edwards said that he thought
White is serving in his job illegally and will
consider suing. In order to continue in the job,
the governor said White also must be reconfirmed by the Louisiana Senate.
White's contract provides for a $275,000 salary
and annual 6 percent raises if the state's teachers also get a raise (an amendment added by the
board months after White's hiring in 2012).
The contract also says that at its expiration,
White will serve on a month-to-month basis, a
clause many of White's opponents, and now the
governor, have taken issue with. The board is
at a standstill on whether to hire a new chief
or renew White's contract.
Meanwhile in Alabama last month, the
state board of education, using a clause in
its contract with the superintendent, sprang
a surprise evaluation on Michael Sentance,
barely a year into the chief's job, after district
superintendents complained about his leadership style and policy direction.
"I have traveled all over the state to visit
schools and colleges and talk with educators
about their perspectives and concerns," Sentence said in a statement earlier this month. "My
schedule is sometimes taxing, and I cannot make
all the events that I may want to do. Such is the
nature of public life. But I try to reach out and
talk-and perhaps, more importantly, listen."
Hawaii provided a contract to its new chief,
Christina Kishimoto, that is 11 pages long. That
compares with a contract that was just four
pages under former chief Kathryn Matayoshi.
The new contract details an arbitration process in cases of disputes with the board, allows for incentive packages of an unspecified
amount, provides for a reserved parking spot,
and lists dozens of what the state superintendent's priorities should be in the coming years.
That includes building an understanding
of "complex organizations and how to produce ... educational reform" and "Hawaii's
culture and values."
But contracts are not all about duties and
compensation. In one of the more unusual provisions, Kentucky's state chief, Stephen Pruitt,
is subject to an annual medical examination
because of the "unique nature" of the job. The
wording is blunt.
"The board shall be notified in writing by
the examining physician whether the commissioner continues to have the continued
physical fitness to perform his duties," the
contract says. "And this notification shall be
SWEETENING THE POT
In addition to their base pay, some of the nation's 51 state superintendents receive incentive bonuses and perks as
part of their employment packages and agreements. In some cases, agreements also go into greater detail about state
chiefs' duties and responsibilities. Among the highlights:
Richard Woods receives $20,000 in travel allowance, more
than double his predecessor's travel allowance of $9,400.
Christina Kishimoto's detailed contract provides for, among other
things, a reserved parking spot, a car allowance, and incentive
pay, with no specific dollar figures attached. Unlike the contracts
for her two predecessors, it also spells out the competencies
and primary responsibilities of the state chief. That includes
building an understanding of "complex organizations and how to
produce...educational reform" and "Hawaii's culture and values."
Stephen Pruitt's contract requires a complete annual medical
examination-and a letter to the board from his physician.
The contract says the provision is due to the "unique nature" of
the job and to assure the board that the commissioner has the
"continued physical fitness" to perform his duties.
John White was originally promised in his 2012 contract with
the state that, if he gets a positive evaluation each year, he
will get a 6 percent pay increase. But months later, the board
and White amended the contract so that he only gets the
pay increase if state employees and the state's public school
teachers also get a raise. He has never received the raise.
Karen Salmon can get up to $35,400 in incentive pay if she
boosts graduation rates and test scores, closes the state's
achievement gaps, and improves the state's juvenile schools.
Paolo DeMaria is set to receive a performance bonus of $20,000
next month for his "leadership, communication and policy making"
in his first year in office.
SOURCE: Education Week
EDUCATION WEEK | August 30, 2017 | www.edweek.org | 17
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 30, 2017
Education Week - August 30, 2017
Delayed Start to School Tough Call for Parents
More Americans Give Top Grades To Schools in Latest PDK Poll
An Unlikely ESSA Provision: Warning on Copyright Piracy
Grad. Rate Rule Creates Quandary for States
State Chiefs’ Pay Squeezed Between Duties, Politics
News in Brief
For Most Students, Closing Failing Schools Doesn’t Help
Obama-Era School Snack Rules Slow to Change Students’ Habits
The District Where Principals Run Their Schools—and Teach
Teacher Fellows Tread Fine Line At Ed. Dept
Federal Judge Finds ‘Racial Animus’ In Ariz. Ethnic-Studies Ban
How States Will Slice ESSA Block-Grant Pie
Hiring Deals Include More Than Base Pay
Monique Darrisaw-Akil: We Can Fix Credit Recovery
Bernard Gassaway: Public School Officials Are Artificially Inflating Graduation Rates. I’ve Seen It Myself
John Kline: ESSA Co-Author: Enforce the Law
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Miriam Kurtzig Freedman: Is the SAT Still Valid?
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - State Chiefs’ Pay Squeezed Between Duties, Politics
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 2
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 3
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 5
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - Obama-Era School Snack Rules Slow to Change Students’ Habits
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - The District Where Principals Run Their Schools—and Teach
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - Teacher Fellows Tread Fine Line At Ed. Dept
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 9
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 10
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 11
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 12
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 13
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - How States Will Slice ESSA Block-Grant Pie
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 15
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 16
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - Hiring Deals Include More Than Base Pay
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - Bernard Gassaway: Public School Officials Are Artificially Inflating Graduation Rates. I’ve Seen It Myself
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - John Kline: ESSA Co-Author: Enforce the Law
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 21
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - 23
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - Miriam Kurtzig Freedman: Is the SAT Still Valid?
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - August 30, 2017 - CW4