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School superintendent contracts and yearly compensation packages revealed in study


COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - How does the pay for school superintendents in Branch County stack up against other districts in the area and statewide. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy Wednesday released a new online database that provides detailed compensation data for every conventional and intermediate school district superintendent in Michigan. The searchable web tool also includes links to individual superintendent contracts.

Michael Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center, said while compensation for superintendents only amounts to about 1 percent of public school spending, the public should have easy access to the information. According to Van Beek, as CEOs of districts and often the highest paid government employee in a local community, superintendent pay deserves an extra level of public scrutiny. While many school districts make some of this information available on their websites, this database makes it easy to compare pay across districts. 570 superintendents are listed on the site.

Topping the compensation package of local superintendents is Coldwater’s Dr. Tina Kerr at $189,000 and 102nd on the list. B-I-S-D Superintendent Joe Lopez listed at 195 with compensation of $165,000. Union City is listed at $156,000, Bronson $152,000 and Quincy $115,000. The district with the highest paid superintendent in the state is Utica at $300,000. Kalamazoo is third at $280,000. This new database is part of the Center’s Michigan School Databases project that includes links to every school union contract, district-level funding and spending statistics and an apples-to-apples high school achievement database that adjusts test score results based on socioeconomic factors. The superintendent compensation database can be found at http://www.mackinac.org/depts/epi/salary.aspx. Linda Wacyk of the Michigan Association of School Administers noted that the local decisions made on superintendent contracts take several issues into account and can be hard to compare district-to-district. She also noted that the Midwest, as a region, ranks second behind the Rocky Mountain States for having the lowest-compensated school superintendents. Of the Midwest states, Michigan superintendents, on average, are the lowest paid.  "I think the taxpayers are getting a deal, quite frankly," Wacyk said. "It's a CEO Job in what is, in some communities, the largest endeavor. It's the largest food service provider. It's the largest transportation system. They supervise the most employees.