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Are School Administrators Making Too Much?

February 28, 2011, 9:52 PM by Katie Janssen

Are School Administrators Making Too Much?
PIERRE, SD - With education cuts a hot topic in Pierre, there've been a lot of questions about school administrator salaries in South Dakota.

One report shows more than 40 superintendents, principals and other administrators earning more money than the governor, and some say it's too excessive. But, the Sioux Falls School District says there's a lot of incorrect information out there.

A South Dakota Department of Education document shows how many school administrators make more than $98,000 dollars a year, which is around what Governor Dennis Daugaard earns. Forty-one superintendents, principals and others are on the list. Nineteen of them are from Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls Business Manager Todd Vik says in fact, the district has 33 employees who earn more than $100,000 a year, but not all salaries have to be recorded on the report. Even so, he says the state is still toward the bottom when it comes to administrative pay.

"In the last couple of weeks here as things always get intense here at the legislative session, it looks like there’s a bit of an effort out here to paint school administrators as highly paid top-heavy in the state, in order to sway the public that the draconian cuts to education are okay," Vik said 

Vik says he's heard some lawmakers quote a statistic that South Dakota ranks in the mid-20's in the nation for administrative pay, but a document from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says otherwise. It shows the annual mean wage for elementary and secondary administrators in 2009. South Dakota is ranked 48th at $65,590. The ranking is 47th, if you don't count Washington, D.C., which Sioux Falls does not.

According to the state, Sioux Falls Superintendent Pam Homan earns the most among her peers, at nearly $176,000 dollars a year. We've had questions from viewers as to whether she or other Sioux Falls administrators would be willing to take a pay cut, and the answer is yes; in fact, they'd have to.

"We have a contract in place that if theres a reduction in state aid to the Sioux Falls school district the administrators and all the employees’ salaries will go backwards," Vik said.

Click here for a look at South Dakota superintendents' salaries.

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