Connecticut School Superintendents Get High Pay and Perks

Some school leaders make more than $200,000 annually and get monthly allotments to interact with their communities.

Besides their hefty six-figure salaries, Connecticut school superintendents also command enviable perks and bonuses, according to a report in the New Haven Register.

Along with its sister news organizations, including the Middletown Press and the Litchfield County Times, the Register found that the average pay for school superintendents in Connecticut is $166,000 and that they can significantly boost that pay with other negotiated perks and benefits, including compensation for unused sick time, meal allowances, travel pay and bonuses.

Oxford Superintendent Timothy Connellan, who was hired in the summer, signed a contract that would pay him $170,000 a year. 

In its report, the Register included in its story a database of its review of the pay of 148 superintendents, along with links to their contracts.

Some school superintendents earn more than $200,000 annually and get tens of thousands more each year in perks, the newspapers found. Many also get generous benefit packages that include up to a month of vacation time and several weeks of sick time that can be accrued and then paid out if unused.

While the average annual pay for a school superintendent in Connecticut is $166,000, many school leaders make more than that, the report states. In West Hartford, for instance, Superintendent Karen List makes $230,000 annually with a tax-sheltered annuity included. That makes her the 14th highest paid superintendent in Connecticut.

Will Wilkin January 04, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Hi Stephen, while your comparison of supt. pay to that of private sector executives with comparable levels of responsibility is valid, from the POV of working people that exec pay IS VERY HIGH compared to what is happening to the rest of us. The trend is towards increasing inequality. Income inequality in the USA has grown significantly since the early 1970s. Before that, both within an enterprise and in aggregate in the US economy, the ratio of top earners to bottom was much less, & held relatively steady from 1947 until early 1970s, when trend towards greater inequality that continues to worsen. The root is the weakening economic & political position of working people compared to top management & investors. For example, the decline of organized labor weakens not only the workers in those industries but ripples throughout the economy, because employers in non-unionized industries no longer need to bid higher for labor to compete with unionized industries. Also, the mass unemployment caused by "free trade" offshoring of 6 million manufacturing jobs & 56,000 factories --just since 2000-- weakens the bargaining position of labor & lower management. While education & other public sector employment is affected less by these trends due to unions making a last stand in the public sector, this larger context shows that, in comparison to what is happening to most working people in America, Superintendent pay and higher management pay is indeed HIGH.
Stephen C. Brown January 04, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Comparable levels are comparable levels. Is executive pay in corporate America too high, no argument from me there. As it relates to education, executive pay is much higher in certain sectors - particularly where there has been a corporatization of educational management (CT State Univ system comes to mind). However, Supt pay runs the gamut and is not out of control relative to responsibility and performance as in certain elements of the corporate market. With usually many years of experience, Ph.D or equiv education and broad managerial responsibility, where would their pay be relative to others? Allof these factors would seem to me to be well correlated with pay at the levels reported and relative to other workers. That other workers pay has declined over the years is another argument and unionization yet another. Will, lets agree to agree in part.
Paul Singley January 04, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Hey Stephen. Thanks for commenting. I always respect your well thought out opinions and articulate responses. And as a Board of Ed. member, you bring an important perspective on the value of good superintendents. I don't, however, agree that the story, which points out the straightforward reporting of the New Haven Register and its partners, is biased. To say that superintendents get high pay - I think most people would agree an average salary of $166K is high - is fair, in my opinion. I think it's also fair to say that their salaries and perks are "enviable" to most people (and, let's be fair, if we are that envious we should all go back and get certified to be superintendents so we shouldn't complain too much). I do agree with your point that our story here (not the Register's story) could have been better if we compared similar salaries in the private sector. I take responsibility for that. That said, I think we can also compare their salaries to those of elected public officials, such as mayors and police and fire officials. I think the comparisons to the private sector would show that yes, these salaries would seem on par with those who oversee corporations with budgets of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. However, many might question, as they often do during budget season, why local government executives make so much less than school superintendents.
Stephen C. Brown January 04, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Thanks Paul. Much like with Will's comment, I agree in part. I would not think that an elected official's salary and benefits would be a fair comparison in that those are largely non-competitive positions that are small in number and not as significantly impacted by market forces. While some may not value the work performed by a superintendent as being worth $150,000+, the market rather than opinion will determine that. In my opinion, the leadership demonstrated by our superintendent, executive team and staff in recent weeks more than makes the argument that we are getting our money's worth.
Paul Singley January 04, 2013 at 08:40 PM
This article also highlights that Oxford is about average in what is pays its superintendent when compared to other districts throughout the state, even though a recent report I just read from the Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley shows that Oxford's median household income is now $107K - the second highest in the region besides Cheshire, which is just a couple hundred more.


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