Superintendents weigh in on salaries, school board, equity and COVID
A majority of superintendents have been in their positions between one and five years, and an even larger majority are white and male, according to a Board & Administrator/District Administration survey.
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents to the survey of more than 250 district leaders identified as male. Some 43% reported having been in their position between one and five years, 17% saying they’d been in their post for more than a decade.
On salaries, the superintendents, who lead districts of all sizes, reported earning the following:
- Less than $95,000 a year: 4.7%
- $95,000-$149,000: 39.4%
- $150,000-$199,000: 31.5%
- $200,000-$299,000: 20.9%
- $350,000+: 1.2%
Just about nine in 10 of the respondents reported receiving a raise of 5% or less over the last 12 months. The same amount expect a similarly-sized raise during the next year. Only 15% said they had received a bonus.
The most common perks reported were cars, laptops and cellphones. Superintendents also said they receive additional contributions to retirement and life insurance accounts, and an executive physical. Only a small number (1.6%) get a housing allowance.
The respondents overwhelmingly identified as white. Here’s the ethnic breakdown:
- Black: 5%
- Hispanic: 4%
- Asian: .8%
- White: 88%
- Native American: .8%
As for school board meetings, most (about 70%) said they meet once a month, with most of the rest meeting twice monthly. And 90% described their school boards as effective or highly effective.
The survey also asked several questions about the COVID-disrupted 2020-21 school year. Nine in 10 of the respondents said they gave devices to students for online learning while a little more than half partnered with internet providers and community organizations to make Wi-Fi accessible.
They rated internet access, teacher training, costs and parent communication as the biggest challenges of the COVID-era. Almost all the respondents said they had provider teachers with online or virtual training during this school year.
About one third of the superintendents said their districts are facing a small decrease in funding because of COVID while about 30% expect a large decrease. About 15% expect a small increase.
Among the lasting impacts of the COVID-era, the superintendents said:
- Virtual learning will continue to be a method to deliver instruction
- Identification of educational gaps
- Concern over staff and students that don’t get the vaccine
- Because parents are seeing firsthand the low-level clerical work students are being given, districts will move to more authentic performance measures and away from standardization
- Learning loss, enrollment decline and parents angry at teachers’ union
- Bad weather closures should be a thing of the past
- More deliberate planning and preparations for meeting the needs of all students and staff
- Sick children will be required to stay at home
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