Las Vegas Sun

October 28, 2016

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With negotiations underway, district finds its superintendent salary is competitive


Steve Marcus

Pat Skorkowsky, Clark County School District superintendent, responds to a question during an editorial board meeting at the Las Vegas Sun offices in Henderson June 11, 2013.

As contract negotiations continue with new Clark County Schools Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, district officials learned the salary for their top administrator is in line with those of its peer districts.

Skorkowsky was appointed to a four-year term this month. His predecessor, Dwight Jones, who abruptly resigned in March for personal reasons, was paid a base salary of $270,000 per year.

That is more than four times the salary of the average Clark County teacher.

School Board President Carolyn Edwards has proposed to pay Skorkowsky the same base salary as Jones, however with a slight twist.

Edwards would like to pay Skorkowsky $250,000 per year, with an $80,000 bonus after the four-year term. She said the bonus — $20,000 per year over the contract period — would serve as an incentive for Skorkowsky to finish out his term.

Skorkowsky's benefits package is also being negotiated.

The School District provided Jones a substantial benefits package, including a $150,000 life insurance policy; $15,000 for moving expenses; $4,000 per year for professional development; a $700-per-month car allowance; $660 per month to offset costs to attend off-hour community events; and 31 days of vacation per year.

Jones also was offered free housing for the first six months of his four-year contract. The Public Education Foundation, a local education nonprofit, collected $22,540 in public donations for the housing subsidy.

With all the benefits, Jones' total compensation was about $387,000 per year, according to

School Board members Lorraine Alderman and Linda Young said they do not want to see another "Gucci contract" for the superintendent. Skorkowsky's benefits package is likely to be lower than Jones, because he does not require relocation expenses.

The School Board is aiming to vote on Skorkowsky's contract and salary between late June and mid-July.

As superintendent, Skorkowsky is akin to the CEO of a major corporation. Skorkowsky oversees a general fund budget of $2 billion and is the top administrator for Nevada's largest public employer, with more than 36,000 employees.

However, as cash-strapped school districts grapple with budget cuts, rising superintendent salaries have come under scrutiny — and criticism. Some states, such as New Jersey, have begun capping superintendent pay.

Nationally, the average salary for a school superintendent during the 2009-10 school year was $159,634, according to an Education Research Service survey. In urban school districts with more than 25,000 students, the average compensation was more than $225,000, according to the survey.

To see if its superintendent pay is competitive, the Clark County School Board solicited base salary information from the 10 largest school systems in the country. Clark County is the fifth largest school district, by student enrollment, in the nation.

Upon analysis, the School Board found that Clark County's $270,000 superintendent salary is the seventh highest among those districts surveyed.

Two larger school districts – Chicago and New York City – spend as much as $57,000 less on their superintendent salaries. Four smaller school districts – Philadelphia; Houston; Broward County, Fla.; and Hillsborough County, Fla. – spend as much as $30,000 more on their superintendent salaries.

Los Angeles, with the second largest school system nationally, spends the most on its superintendent ($330,000). Hawaii, with the ninth largest school system, spends the least among the top 10 districts ($150,000).

When looking at superintendent salary per pupil, Clark County ranks fifth in the country, at 87 cents per student.

Philadelphia, the 10th largest school system nationally, spends the most per pupil ($2.01). New York City, the largest school system in the country, spends the least among the top 10 districts (21 cents).

Here, according to data collected by the Clark County School District, is a listing of superintendent salaries for the 10 largest school districts by enrollment: (Note: These figures are for base salaries and do not include benefit packages.)

    • 1. New York City Department of Education

      Salary: $212,614

      Student enrollment: 1,036,053

      Salary/student: $0.21

      Number of schools: 1,619

    • 2. Los Angeles Unified School District

      Salary: $330,000

      Student enrollment: 655,716

      Salary/student: $0.50

      Number of schools: 1,278

    • 3. Chicago Public Schools

      Salary: $250,000

      Student enrollment: 404,151

      Salary/student: $0.62

      Number of schools: 681

    • 4. Miami-Dade County Schools, Fla.

      Salary: $275,000

      Student enrollment: 342,713

      Salary/student: $0.80

      Number of schools: 392

    • 5. Clark County School District

      Salary: $270,000

      Student enrollment: 311,380

      Salary/student: $0.87

      Number of schools: 357

    • 6. Broward County Schools, Fla.

      Salary: $275,000

      Student enrollment: 260,796

      Salary/student: $1.05

      Number of schools: 316

    • 7. Houston Independent Schools

      Salary: $300,000

      Student enrollment: 203,354

      Salary/student: $1.48

      Number of schools: 276

    • 8. Hillsborough County Public Schools, Fla.

      Salary: $272,340

      Student enrollment: 200,533

      Salary/student: $1.36

      Number of schools: 266

    • 9. Hawaii Department of Education

      Salary: $150,000

      Student enrollment: 183,251

      Salary/student: $0.82

      Number of schools: 286

    • 10. School District of Philadelphia

      Salary: $300,000

      Student enrollment: 149,535

      Salary/student: $2.01

      Number of schools: 326

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