October 10 2012

Ohio Public School Superintendents Get Better Compensation Packages than Private Sector and Teachers

Vicki E. Alger

“Best in Class.” That’s how Cincinnati.com describes many Ohio public school superintendents’ compensation packages:

Compensation for school superintendents, particularly in Ohio, typically contains more than just their salaries. Some have all or part of their retirement contributions and/or Medicare taxes paid for by districts. Some get performance or longevity bonuses and separate annuity contributions from their district. For many, all or part of their health care coverage is paid or reimbursed by their district.

New salaries range from a “low” of more than $70,000 all the way up to $183,000. Not a bad gig if you can get it, especially given the hardships many Ohio schools are facing these days:

After Ohio cut nearly $2 billion from public-school budgets over the last two years, districts throughout the state cut hundreds of teaching jobs and froze teacher salaries.

Many superintendents and treasurers also froze their salaries, sharing in the pain.

An Enquirer analysis of more than 130 superintendent and treasurer contracts in Greater Cincinnati, however, shows that many top school executives received perks in compensation packages that most other educators don’t receive and that many in private business don’t get. Further, as school districts struggle to compete for talent at the top, state salary databases show superintendent and treasurer take-home pay grew during the recession. …

Crystal Faulkner, a certified public accountant from Hyde Park who consults with businesses, said some of the superintendents’ fringe benefits aren’t offered in the business world. For instance, she said, few comparably sized private companies would fund all of their executives’ retirement or allow executives to retire, draw benefits and then return while earning a full salary.

Ohio and Kentucky – like many states – do allow public employees, including educators, to retire, draw on public pension benefits and return to work for a salary. Superintendents are the educators most likely to use that benefit, although some districts make the option available to a few other educators.

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