Thursday, June 27, 2013 | 8:22 p.m.
The Clark County School Board has approved a contract that will pay its new superintendent Pat Skorkowsky a base salary of $260,000 a year.
The contract, OK'ed during Thursday’s board meeting, will pay Skorkowsky $10,000 less than his predecessor who left the district in March, two years into a four-year contract. Former Superintendent Dwight Jones, who was the past education commissioner of Colorado, was paid a $270,000 annual base salary.
Skorkowsky also will receive a $700 per month car allowance, along with reimbursable expenses of $600 per month to offset attending community events and $4,000 annually for professional development.
Skorkowsky's total annual compensation, salary plus benefits, will be $279,600. He’ll also receive a $150,000 life insurance policy as well as long-term disability, medical, dental and vision insurance.
The School Board voted 4 to 1 in favor of Skorkowsky's contract. School Board member Linda Young cast the sole dissenting vote, arguing for a shorter, one-year contract. School Board members Lorraine Alderman and Patrice Tew were absent.
"I am honored to have a contract in place that allows me to continue serving the students and employees of the Clark County School District," Skorkowsky said in a statement. "This contract is a direct reflection of the values of the Clark County School District Board of Trustees and my personal emphasis on giving back to my community."
Skorkowsky became Clark County's 14th superintendent earlier this month after School Board members rejected to contract with a national search firm. That decision came after more than two months of public input meetings and surveys, which found wide public support for hiring locally.
The board initially appointed Skorkowsky to the district’s top post on May 21, but rescinded the decision then reappointed him at a June 3 meeting amid public concerns about the transparency of the initial appointment.
Skorkowsky has moved up the School District ranks from first-grade teacher to superintendent over his 25-year career in Clark County. He has no prior experience as superintendent elsewhere.
As the beneficiary of leadership turnovers, Skorkowsky's career took a meteoric rise over the past year.
In late July 2012, Skorkowsky became deputy superintendent, tasked with boosting classroom instruction. He replaced Pedro Martinez, who was tapped to lead the Washoe County School District. As deputy superintendent, Skorkowsky was paid an annual salary of $146,794.
When Skorkowsky was chosen as interim superintendent in mid-March, he received a $65,000 — or 45 percent — raise. His total compensation was about $212,300.
By becoming a permanent superintendent, Skorkowsky scored a $67,300 raise — a 32 percent increase. Over the course of the past year, Skorkowsky's compensation nearly doubled, from $135,082 as an associate superintendent to $260,000 as superintendent.
Although Skorkowsky will be paid a similar base salary as Jones, his benefits won't be as "exorbitant" as Jones', according to School Board member Erin Cranor.
Jones received more money for some benefits, such as $60 additional per month to attend community events, and had more perks overall, such as $15,000 for moving expenses.
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.
In all, Jones' benefits topped $57,800. In comparison, Skorkowsky's benefits package is a more modest $19,600.
In addition, some of Skorkowsky's benefits — such as his professional development and community events allowance — are reimbursable expenses. That means Skorkowsky won't receive the full benefits package unless he submits reimbursement forms.
Since Skorkowsky was named superintendent, School Board members have argued against approving another "Gucci contract," although what that actually meant was hotly debated.
School Board member Linda Young was adamant she would vote against any contract that mentioned a bonus. School Board member Chris Garvey was also hesitant on the bonus issue. Originally, Skorkowsky's proposed contract contained a $10,000 "year-end incentive" that would be paid out after every school year.
"Bonuses remind me of what happened with presidents and CEOs of banks on Wall Street," Young said. "If superintendent Skorkowsky gets a bonus, everybody gets a bonus."
School Board members Deanna Wright and Carolyn Edwards were in favor of the bonus. Edwards, who along with School Board member Patrice Tew helped draft the contract, said the bonus would encourage Skorkowsky to stay on as superintendent.
"I think $260,000 is fair," Edwards said.
Skorkowsky's salary is in line with superintendent salaries among the nation's 10 largest school districts. The following is a listing of superintendent base salaries. (Note: The salaries were compiled by the School District, and do not include benefit packages.)
1. New York City Department of Education
Student enrollment: 1,036,053
Number of schools: 1,619
2. Los Angeles Unified School District
Student enrollment: 655,716
Number of schools: 1,278
3. Chicago Public Schools
Student enrollment: 404,151
Number of schools: 681
4. Miami-Dade County Schools, Fla.
Student enrollment: 342,713
Number of schools: 392
5. Clark County School District
Student enrollment: 311,380
Number of schools: 357
6. Broward County Schools, Fla.
Student enrollment: 260,796
Number of schools: 316
7. Houston Independent Schools
Student enrollment: 203,354
Number of schools: 276
8. Hillsborough County Public Schools, Fla.
Student enrollment: 200,533
Number of schools: 266
9. Hawaii Department of Education
Student enrollment: 183,251
Number of schools: 286
10. School District of Philadelphia
Student enrollment: 149,535
Number of schools: 326