Have you heard about this? The school superintendent in Fresno County, California, Larry Powell, is a hero to taxpayers nationwide:
Some people give back to their community. Then there’s Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell, who’s really giving back. As in $800,000 – what would have been his compensation for the next three years.
Until his term expires in 2015, Powell will run 325 schools and 35 school districts with 195,000 students, all for less than a starting California teacher earns.
“How much do we need to keep accumulating?” asks Powell, 63. “There’s no reason for me to keep stockpiling money.”
…[Powell asked] his board to allow him to return $288,241 in salary and benefits for the next three and a half years of his term. He technically retired, then agreed to be hired back to work for $31,000 a year – $10,000 less than a first-year teacher – and with no benefits.
Setting aside for a moment Powell’s generosity, though, take a look at his salary and responsibilities compared to District 150’s superintendent:
|Fresno Supt.||Peoria Supt.|
|*Including benefits | **Not including benefits|
The school board also awarded District 150’s superintendent a $10,000 bonus this year. It seems the Fresno superintendent has a much bigger responsibility. If you run the numbers, you’ll see that Peoria’s school system is less than 7% the size of Fresno’s by enrollment, yet our superintendent’s salary is almost 70% the size of Fresno’s — not including benefits.
Am I suggesting that our superintendent should only get 7% of what Fresno’s makes (it comes to a little less than $20,000)? No, of course not. But I am questioning whether $198,000 is too high, given the size of our school district. If the Fresno superintendent thinks he’s overpaid at $288,000, and his school district is nearly 14 times the size of ours, then it seems we may have a problem — especially when you factor in the cost of living. According to BestPlaces.net, Fresno is 26% more expensive than Peoria, housing in Fresno is 75% more expensive than Peoria, and a salary equivalent to $198,000 in Peoria would be $250,371 in Fresno.
I’m sure I’ll be accused of comparing apples and oranges, but it does make a taxpayer wonder if our salary scales for administrators are too high. And oh, that there would be more public-sector workers like Powell — ones who would say, “There’s no reason for me to keep stockpiling money,” and voluntarily take a pay cut for the sake of better government service.