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July 4, 2015

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$270K annual salary may not be enough to attract next superintendent, board president suggests


Paul Takahashi

Clark County Schools Superintendent Dwight Jones delivers his second annual “State of the District” address on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, at Western High School. Jones unveiled a new online “Open Book” portal, which makes the district’s financial information public, and touted the district’s academic gains last school year.

Updated Thursday, March 7, 2013 | 10:20 a.m.

Sun coverage

Clark County School Board President Carolyn Edwards called on her colleagues to re-examine the compensation package for future superintendents in light of Superintendent Dwight Jones' sudden resignation.

To remain competitive in the market, Nevada should offer better compensation for its district leaders, Edwards said.

"It's a difficult thing for us to do, and it's not popular in this community," Edwards said. "That's frustrating because whoever comes in is going to be the superintendent of the fifth-largest school district in the nation.

"It is hard work and we should compensate our superintendent for the work that they do. It may be that we need to look at a bonus or benefit package that supplements what we (give)."

Jones abruptly announced his departure Tuesday night. Jones cited personal reasons, saying his ailing mother in Dallas needed him.

During his two years in Las Vegas, Jones was paid an annual salary of $270,000. With benefits, Jones' annual take balloons to about $396,000, according to

Jones, who said he worked long hours and weekends, also received many perks.

The School District provided 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.

Six-figure superintendent salaries have come under greater public scrutiny as many cash-strapped school districts across the nation slashed budgets in the recession. Last month, the Clark County School District cut pay for about half of its 17,000 teachers after an arbitrator ruled in favor of the district in its bitter contract dispute with the teachers union.

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.

The superintendent of the Clark County School District oversees a general fund budget of $2 billion. The School District is also the state's largest public employer with more than 36,000 employees and the state's largest school system with more than 311,000 students. Its food service department feeds 175,000 students each school day.

Advocates for school administrators have argued a CEO of a company with a $2 billion budget would be compensated millions of dollars. Critics argue taxpayer dollars should go to classroom and student resources, not superintendent salaries.

Edwards said she planned to ask the School Board to approve a cost analysis of superintendent salaries for the 15 largest school districts in the country. That study would inform the board about future superintendent compensation.

"This is a conversation the board needs to have," she said.

CORRECTION: This version corrects details of a housing subsidy provided to Jones. | (March 7, 2013)

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  1. "Jones, who said he worked long hours and weekends"

    We work long hours and weekends, too. After a decade, I don't make 50 thousand. I won't even get a tiny raise to help deflect loan repayment for a master's degree that improves my instruction. Try to replace me with someone better.

    Sickening. I pray to find a job outside of the CCSD.

  2. You don't need to pay anyone this amount of money to run a school district.

    These people are not magic and they don't have any magic solutions.

    Find one school district in the US where a new superintendent did ANY GOOD!

    These are just good old boys supported other good old boys.

    Put a smart teacher in charge and the school will be better off. Even some one from the teacher's union will be better than another stupidintendent.

  3. Perhaps the people making the budget went to the CCSD school system and failed math.

    The president of the united states makes 400k a year, do you really think the CCSD superintendent needs to make 396k (the current salary for Jones)??

    Cut the salary down dramatically and re-purpose that money to fix several ailing school's with leaky roofs and electrical problems.

    Then cut LV firefighter's pay in half and see if we cant rectify the budget across our Valley.

  4. Carolyn Edwards needs to go. The woman is completely out of touch with reality. Let's constantly bemoan how there is no money to pay teachers decently and then immediately decide we need to give the next superintendent more money than the previous one. This woman is nuts. Where's the car allowance and overtime pay for all the rest of the CCSD employees? Nevadans, wake up and get these people out of office.

  5. I agree Carolyn Edwards does need to go. I wonder how much money she is making a year?

    We need to have a financial analyst do a cost analysis and also refigure the budget for the school system and several other government bodies. It's sickening to know that someone with a 270k salary was housed for 6 months at 5k, and given a 600 a month car allowance, and the list seems to go on and on. When someone makes that kind of money, they dont need a car allowance or paid housing.

    We wonder why budgets in America are so out of control, open your eyes people.

  6. For that kind of money you should be able to search nationally for a top notch person. With benefits the compensation package will be well over $300,000. There are plenty of competent people out there so when I hear that the market is limited I think that someone is naive.

  7. I think we should eliminate the position.
    We need a School Superintendent like we need another Alaskan oil spill!
    Get rid of Clark County School Board President Carolyn Edwards too.
    Neither of these positions are in any way valuable to our children,
    and in fact they are an impediment to learning.

    More teachers. Less stuffed shirts.

  8. It does not matter what you Think someone should make. It's what a job pays in a competitive market. If a Top individual in a competitive market makes a Million a Year then that's what it is - so just suck it up. Or get yourself qualified and You do the job. However quit whining about someone else's salary because you are not competent to do that job.

  9. On a related thread lvfacts101/Jerry Fink observed that if Ford or other private companies had failure rates approaching 50% they would soon run out of customers. Public education is a near-monopoly in the education business and, contrary to much wishful thinking, is likely to remain so. CCSD is a $2 billion/year business with 34,000 employees. Its economic footprint in Clark County is immense, affecting virtually every economic sector with its multiplier effect. How much to pay the leader of CCSD depends on what you expect in return. I propose that if you expect significant increases in actual student achievement you will not get it. You can probably expect better test scores and better graduation rates but those will come as a result of slight changes in testing protocols or criteria for graduation. Witness the "never give up on a kid close to graduating" strategy implemented by Jones. Summer school, last minute remedial classes, intensive prep, etc. all contributed. There is, however, a limit to those strategies and pretty soon you run out. You are then left with the fact that a significant number of people in Clark County are modestly educated and have, at best, modest expectations for their children. With a few exceptions the local economy does not need or want well-educated,highly-skilled workers. With a few exceptions, the local post-secondary schools emphasize low skill, low wage work. Clark County is nowhere near a hotbed of intellectual achievement in any field save those of hospitality and gaming, neither of which is well known for opportunity for the masses.

    Perhaps the Board will realize that it should seek not a flashy reformer but rather a steady hand capable of guiding the district through modest incremental change. The most important tools that the Board could give a new superintendent are those necessary to thin the ranks of administration. With the exception of technical staff, all administrative employees should be "at-will" so that they can be promoted, transferred, demoted or replaced as the super sees fit

  10. It does matter if you're a voter in this district. It's not called 'suck it up', it's called time for a revamp. How can we afford to pay someone that kind of money but not fix leaky roofs and electrical problems?

    If I were the superintendent I would lose sleep over a roof collapsing on a child before they got to graduate, or them tripping over an electrical cord because a trailer room school wasnt properly equipped for a computer class room....the list goes on and on.

    As a voter I question a high salary when nothing is going in to the actual schools for improvement. No, we shouldn't be educating our children in rotting motor homes with leaky roofs, broken sidewalks, and out of date electrical which all pose hazards.

  11. How about cut his pay and give it to the ones who do the real work: the teachers! I know half of you will come back with some unfounded comments on how teachers have such an easy job and they only work 9 months out of the year. If you knew a teacher you would know this is not true and I doubt you are running to make a career change.

  12. An idiotic salary to begin with, let alone pay more!

  13. @Vegas Native. There are two paid elected positions in CCEA. They are the president and the vice president. All of the other elected members of the union are NOT paid positions, and those in those positions are still in classrooms. The union by laws specify that the president and the vice-president are paid based upon the teachers salary schedule. No 600K there. The executive director is paid about half of the salary of the Superintendent, not counting his perks. So where exactly are those "high paid union thugs" that you are talking about?

  14. The school superintendent should receive no more than the highest paid elected official in the state. Hell, with the lack of progress so far, I couldn't do any worse and I'd do the job for $150k a year.

  15. Maybe it's time to break up the CCSD and consider smaller, more localized and hopefully more agile and responsive community districts.

  16. Running a fortune 500 company is surely easier than this job, and it pays a LOT better. Good luck CCSD!

  17. "$270K annual salary may not be enough to attract next superintendent, board president suggests"

    I might be persuaded to do it for $270K. :-)

  18. They could freeze the position for a year, fire Carolyn Edwards and take the salaries from those two positions to update our slummy schools and give teachers a small and well earned raise. =)

  19. @Ashley. Carolyn Edwards is an elected official and can only be recalled. Each member of the board of trustees is paid a stipend of $750 per month.

  20. @Ashley. You can not compare the President's salary to the superintendents. The President has zero cost of living expenses when in office and is guaranteed millions once he is out of office. What you need to do is look at salaries of people that run companies with similar budgets and number of employees if you want to attract top talent.

  21. Teacher,
    Do you ever question why the Teachers Union doesn't help more with teachers who increase their education? They spend millions on political activism but not so much with helping teachers get a masters. That is supposed to be one of the main reasons for a union too is the training aspect.

  22. @Brianlv. CCEA has recently developed a series of professional development training for teachers. Some of that training is recognized by the Nevada Department of Education to qualify to renew a teaching license. CCEA has also worked with local universities to coordinate advanced degree programs. One of the items that has been in the salary schedule for years is the ability to move on the salary schedule due to advanced education, and time in the district. If by help, you mean helping the teacher pay for the advanced degrees, that has never been provided by any teacher's union. That cost is paid by the teacher, and will be repaid by the movement on the salary schedule. That is what the last two arbitration fights with CCSD have been about. CCSD didn't want to honor the contract and pay for the movement on the salary schedule for education and time with the district.

  23. How do these numbers stack up to the average $139K salary made by the fat cat union bosses that are driving out all of our good teachers?

    Unions are run by thugs and created for the weak person that can't prove himself valuable without unions thugs manipulating the system to keep them safe. GET RID OF THE UNIONS!!!

    Okay, I'm done for now. Seriously though, drive them out like we drove the mob out! They are one in the same!

  24. @VegasNative. The main individual mentioned in all of your links was the FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CCEA, John Jasonek, who retired in 2010. At the time he was serving as the executive director of THREE different organizations. That is no longer allowed. The current executive director is paid less than 150K.

    How about you follow this link. It shows all of the salaries for CCSD for 2011. To get to teachers, you will have to go past 36 pages with 50 name per page or about 1800 people. You were talking about overpaid officials, what do you think about these salaries?

  25. If education is to truly be about the children, the highest paid employees in the school district should be the School Principals. Let's go back to the days where strong LEADERS strived to control a single school and make it succeed. Now, Principal is a stepping stone to a higher paying, less important job OUTSIDE of the schools. Put your highest paid employees in the schools. Let's pay the people who EDUCATE children more than the people who SUPPORT(or actually hinder)that education.

  26. Tanker, the information you're providing should be made in to an article and used to shame the current school system. It seems that the wealth of the budget is being unevenly distributed and not monitored by anyone.

    And to whomever said I shouldn't compare the president's salary with the CCSD Superintendent's salary.....are you kidding me? Using free housing as a given for the president. Funny, this very article show's that Jones was housed for free for a quarter of his time in this position. Stop kidding yourself. The CCSD Superintendent should not make a salary comparable to our president and commander in chief.

  27. Find the very best teacher in Nevada, don't allow that person to be in a union and hire that person for the job. Pay? How about $250K? Seems reasonable to me.

  28. $270K was enough to attract Mr. Jones. He would not have taken the position if he had felt he was underpaid. Perhaps the problem is the Board is always hiring people from outside the CCSD, people who are from other large school districts because the Board thinks those candidates are the only ones who can do the job. Maybe those types of candidates are better but they are not staying around. Maybe it is time to hire from within CCSD or the State of Nevada (Reno) and get someone who would really appreciate the opportunity and the pay and might stick around for more than a year or two!

  29. @cmd742: Question how much do you think that the president makes in a year. Now remember to include, travel, vacations, golf, security, food housing, healthcare, family expenses.
    Rest assured that its wayyyy more than $400k

  30. If the job is desired for the money, we are looking at the wrong candidate. Often enough, it seems we accept questionable people, sometimes affirmative action window dressing, instead of recruiting people with a genuine commitment to education. People who excel at rhetoric, or wear nice suits, do not always make the best educators or administrators. If the Salvation Army national director can work for around $30,000, a school administrator should be able to survive on a quarter of a million dollars a year. If a prospect says he or she can do better in another city, let them pursue their dream elsewhere.

  31. We do not need another professional manager - we need an education leader.

    We do not need another professional unionbuster - it cost us all to go to war over contract language and broken promises put in writing after labor sacrificed. Most of all it cost kids.

    We do not need another professional public relations expert who hires a million dollar staff to spin reform rhetoric and crazytown logic.

    We do not need another "star" expert for a quarter of a million dollars.

    We do not need to stuff more kids in classrooms while the hierarchy flit and fly all around the country looking for new staff - while pink slipping expert skilled labor.

    If the district needs MORE money to hire someone to do these expensive and student/teacher crushing things - than someone needs a wake up call.

    Jones failed our district and our public schools. We needed a champion - instead he opened up the doors and let in the lions. Instead of attracting someone who will take the job for cash - we need to look for someone who is s believer in students, teachers, and the right to a free public adequately funded quality education.

  32. Ask Michell Rhee--she's dedicated to the cause more than to money, it would seem.

  33. Teachers, give it a rest. Mr. Jones did NOT fail our district. The teachers failed our district--unwilling to try, to teach, to dedicate to basic education but ever-insistent on demanding more money, more money, more money FOR TEACHERS, not for student needs. And enough with the hype about "need" for retro-fit of school buildings--that money too is within the budget--it's just that teachers have taken IT ALL and left nothing for basic operations.

  34. New York City's school system has a general fund budget of $23 billion with 1.1 million students. NYC's School Chancellor is paid $250K.

    And $270K isn't enough for CCSD?

  35. @Roslenda.

    Is this the Michelle Rhee you are talking about? You may want to read this article in USA today. Something about a big cheating scandal in Washington DC public schools when Rhee was in charge. Seems there were lots, and I mean lots, of wrong answers erased and changed to correct answers.

    Or how about this when she tells the story of taping her students mouth's shut?

    In Nevada this would at a minimum cost the teacher their license and could result in criminal charges.

    Do you really want her as a superintendent?

  36. @Roslenda. Budgets 101. There are two budgets, the capital budget which is used for construction and repair. The operating budget pays for people, supplies and utilities.

    It is illegal to use money from one budget to fund the other budget.

  37. @GreenMtRed. There are a few differences between the NYC schools and CCSD. The Chancellor is appointed by the mayor. The school board is 12 members, 7 appointed by the mayor and one from each of the borough presidents. There are 1700 schools and 75000 teachers.

  38. The great news is that Dwight quit. Now perhaps we can work on getting more competent school board members elected.

  39. Roslenda (Roberta Anderson),
    Michelle Rhee won't even answer the phone for less than a $15,000 retainer fee. Tell us again the lie about her caring about anyone but herself. Rhee is nothing but an overpriced self promoter.

  40. The subject of Michelle Rhee has been brought up--everybody should watch the PBS Frontline docu about her on This docu made it clear to me why changing the schools is so difficult. This week in L.A. voters rejected a sales tax increase in an election where there was only 16% turnout. That's hilarious. Someone here mentioned that teachers don't get tuition assistance. I'm glad they don't. Graduate tuition at UNLV is $264 per credit and taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for that.

  41. Re: Michelle Rhee: Ms. Rhee couldn't do, so she became a teacher; she couldn't teach, so became and administrator; couldn't administer, so became a consultant. Like Sarah Palin she is all hat, no cattle, a quitter, complainer and scolding nag whose interests lie in her pocketbook. She would never accept the low pay of the Superintendent position but would gladly "advise" for a large check. Roberta, Bob...give her a call and find out the going price.

  42. There are plenty of well qualified superintendent candidates who would gladly accept this position for LESS, because they truly are in it for the students.

    Would any of them make it past the current School Board? Probably not, and you all know why.

    The handwriting is and has been on the wall: Nevada Lawmakers refuse to adequately fund education and Nevada's infrastructure! Excellent plans fall into waste because they cannot be financially SUSTAINED!

    I will repeat:
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    The cause of the real problem still exists: Nevada Lawmakers REFUSE to adequately and appropriate fund education in Nevada. Until such a time, industries as MINING will exploit the nonrewable wealth buried within Nevada soils, remove it paying a pittance in return. They (MINING) should pay at least an average of what they (MINING) pays in the other 49 states! Here in Nevada, virtually nothing has changed since MINING dictated MINING LAWS into the Nevada State Constitution over a 100 years ago, when the Nevada Constitution was first being written. Go figure!

    Year after year, Nevada's infrastructure has LACKED revenue to keep it functioning properly.

    Here in Nevada, Las Vegas specifically, a REPEAT of the same, tired, worn out, vicious cycle will soon begin. Recently, the school district cried broke, forced compensation freezes on staff across the board, conditions and morale at schools at an all time low, reduced community support, hundreds of good people leaving their positions due to their "reasons", and surprise, surprise, the district has suddenly come up with TWO YEARS worth of funding to hire to fill positions and TEMPORARILY reduce classroom size and expand PRE-K and Kindergarten...once again!!!!

    Blessings and Peace,

  43. I find it interesting that many find the pay for the man responsible for your kids education is too high yet think nothing of paying the coaches for Basketball and Football more than twice that amount.

    One has to be responsible for over 300,000 children's educations, the other has to keep you happy with a winning team. I guess that shows where your values are.