According to GoLocalProv, Rhode Island's highest paid superintendent is Providence's Susan Lusi with a $190,000 salary – just $13,000 shy of State Education Commission Deborah Gist's pay.
Stephen Beale, who wrote the article, also states:
The superintendents for some of the largest, more urban school districts made the top ten list, including those in Warwick, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket. But the heads of comparatively smaller school systems, such as Middletown and Portsmouth are also among the highest paid.
The state average salary for superintendents is $135,535, according to the article. By comparison, town managers and mayors earn $98,135 on average.
Though some argue that these salaries are justified (Check out GoLocalProv's full article here for supporting/opposing arguments), others say that some salaries are disproportionate to the size of the school department.
“The issue becomes when you look at small, suburban school systems. Is there any need for a superintendent of say 2,000 or 3,000 students? The City of Providence has roughly 24,000 students and pays its superintendent $190,000,” Lisa Blais, spokesperson for the Ocean State Tea Party in Action. “The combined towns of East Greenwich, Exeter, West Greenwich, North Kingstown and South Kingstown have less than 10,000 students. The combined superintendent’s salary of those towns is over half a million dollars. That math doesn’t work.”
With about 4,400 students enrolled in North Kingstown schools, Superintendent Phil Auger earns a salary of $140,000. Just slightly above the state average, Auger's salary is about in line with superintendent salaries in South Kingstown ($143,967), East Greenwich ($138,000) and Westerly ($143,865).
In comparison, Auger earns almost $25,000 more than North Kingstown Town Manager Michael Embury. According to this year's budget, Embury earns $115,807.
Do you think superintendent's salaries are justified? Should student population be a great influencer in their salaries? Should they make more than mayors/town managers?
Sound off in the comments below.