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Salary Survey | News

Report on Superintendent Salaries Reveals Disparity Between Pay for Men and Women

A new report from AASA, the School Superintendents Association, disclosed public school superintendent salaries for the current school year, in the process revealing some significant disparities in maximum base pay between male and female administrators.

In the 2013-2014 school year, the median base pay for superintendents in districts with 300 to 2,499 students was $110,000 for men and $112,000 for women, while the maximum base pay was $258,734 for men and $246,048 for women, according to a AASA's latest report. Districts with 2,500 to 9,999 students show a similar disparity, where median base pay was $147,779 for men and $153,000 for women, while the maximum base pay was $288,000 for men and $268,766 for women. In general, the salaries showed an increase of 1 percent to 2 percent over the previous year.

The report, "2013 Superintendents Salary and Benefits Study," was based on a survey distributed to more than 9,000 public school superintendents across the country. It reports on superintendent salaries and benefits in the 2013-2014 school year and compares them to the previous school year.

This is the second year AASA has conducted the survey, and response rates increased from 14 percent in the first year to more than 25 percent this year, with 2,369 superintendents responding. While this increase in responses indicates growing interest among superintendents, AASA cautions that the response rate is still less than desirable and "reasonably raises questions of whether the data fairly represents the entire population."

The survey categorized districts according to student population size. The majority of respondents came from districts with student populations of 300 to 2,499 and 2,500 to 9,999. Relatively few superintendents from larger and smaller districts responded to the survey, and the report recommends caution analyzing data from those districts.

Other interesting information revealed by the report was a comparison of the median base salary of male superintendents to the salary of beginning teachers, both males and females. In districts with 300 to 2,499 students, male superintendents earned a median base salary of $110,000 compared to $34,175 for beginning teachers. In districts with 2,500 to 9,999 students, male superintendents earned a median base salary of $147,779 compared to $38,000 for beginning teachers.

On the topic of retirement benefits, the report found that more than 30 percent of survey respondents receive a district contribution to an annuity or private retirement account and that the district`s contribution is usually based on salary. As for insurance benefits, nearly 78 percent of respondents receive medical or hospital insurance, and AASA expects this number to increase with the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Although the number of respondents receiving medical or hospital insurance benefits has increased by 2 percent in the last year, the number receiving dental coverage has decreased by 4 percent, and the number receiving vision or optical coverage has decreased by 3 percent.

Other key findings from the report:

  • More than 10 percent of public school superintendents have been rehired after retirement;
  • More than 85 percent of respondents' contracts do not have an incentive or performance clause to reward accomplishment or a particular goal;
  • Less than one-quarter of contracts contain a severance (buyout) clause;
  • Less than 8 percent of contracts contain a longevity clause, which is a lump sum payment after serving a specific number of years as superintendent;
  • Half of respondents describe the economic conditions in their district as stable;
  • 40 percent of respondents describe the economic conditions in their district as declining; and
  • More female superintendents and those belonging to minority racial or cultural groups reported declining economic conditions in their district than did "white (not Hispanic)" male superintendents.

The public version of the 2013 Superintendents Salary and Benefits Study is available as a downloadable PDF from the AASA's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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