It pays to be a public school superintendent in Michigan, regardless of results, according to a report by Michigan Capitol Confidential.
The top 10 superintendents in a 2018 survey all make over $200,000 when factoring in pensions and other benefits, the news organization said. The story is here.
Edwardsburg Public Schools Superintendent Sherman Ostrander retired at the end of the 2018 school year. His total pay for the year was far more than what the district listed as his base salary. Ostrander received $257,537 in pay from the district in 2017-18. In a 2017 email, Ostrander said that his salary was based on a base salary of $161,000 and other contractual “compensation factors” contained in his contract.
Michigan Capitol Confidential is produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a nonprofit that says it advances the principles of free markets. It maintains a database of the estimated total compensation of superintendents.
Michigan Capitol Confidential showed the pay for the top 10 superintendents, including Nikolai Vitti, Detroit Public Schools Community District, who earns $295,000, the highest of the earners.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or the Nation’s Report Card, says the percentage of fourth-grade math students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 4 percent in 2017. This percentage was smaller than large cities (31 percent).
The NAEP ranking showed Detroit as the worst in the nation for fourth-grade math scores.
Vitti also earns more than the new state superintendent, Michael Rice, who in May was offered a salary of $216,000, according to a story by Chalkbeat.
In the Chalkbeat story, Rice criticized the state’s new policy to retain third-garders who don’t read on a second-grade level. He also attacked another reform policy.
Rice also is not a fan of the A-to-F school accountability measure passed during the Republican Legislatures’ lame-duck session in December. Under the policy, public schools will be given a letter grade based on several metrics.
One guarantee is that no matter how much a superintendent makes, someone will believe he or she should earn more.
Education Week published a story on Aug. 29, 2017, ranking the average salaries for superintendents in every state. The publication lamented that while their job duties had increased, “in many cases their salaries have not kept pace.”
Michigan had an average superintendent salary of $207,500, the 16th highest and higher than the national average salary of $174,000.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.