Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Superintendents’ pay means salary — plus perks

According to our analysis, Austin school district Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has a compensation package that tops $360,000. Source: Austin American-Statesman.
According to our analysis, Austin school district Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has a compensation package that tops $360,000. Source: Austin American-Statesman.

During a February conversation about the state budget with two fellow freshman Texas House members and Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith, state Rep. Stefani Carter pointed to the Beaumont school district superintendent’s salary as an example of how education spending is "out of whack."

Carter said Beaumont schools chief Carrol Thomas is the "highest-paid" in Texas while leading a "very tiny district."

Indeed, according to salary information compiled by the Texas Education Agency, Thomas, who has steered the Beaumont district since 1996, receives the largest base pay of all Texas superintendents: $347,834. This year, his district serves about 20,000 students.

However, we realized, there’s more to superintendent compensation than salary: District leaders also receive perks — which vary considerably — such as bonuses and car allowances. We wondered whether Thomas is the state’s highest-paid superintendent in terms of entire compensation packages.

So, we dug into the contracts of some of the state’s top earners, including the superintendents of the Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Fort Bend school districts, and found some high-dollar surprises. See more here.