More rural districts — like, oh, let’s say Union County — may not save nearly as much money by consolidating into countywide districts as Sen. Ruth Whitaker thinks.
Though the analysis done by the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research puts the savings at $21.3 million to the state based off an average $130,222 salary per superintendent per year, necessarily smaller salaries in Union County mean proportionately smaller savings.
Calls Friday to the various superintendents inquiring about their salaries yielded several answers but two supers never felt the need to make calls back despite the public dollars funding their positions.
Superintendents Bob Watson (El Dorado), Danny Thomas (Junction City) and Don Smeltzer (Smackover) each willingly revealed their salaries. Office personnel gave out numbers for Strong-Huttig. Kudos to them.
However, I never received so much as a smoke signal or messenger pigeon, let alone a phone call back, from superintendents in Norphlet or Parkers Chapel. Shame on them.
Based on numbers e-mailed by the Arkansas Department of Education, in Union County the average salary is $103,133 for each superintendent per year; and I’d be willing to wager that other rural districts will have averages even lower that Union County, meaning that the logic used to build the $21.3 million figure is faulty at best.
In speaking in terms of quality versus quantity (and I’ve said this before), it only makes good sense that a number of quality superintendents can do a better job keeping personal control of their respective districts than one mediocre superintendent. And even if that one superintendent is completely brilliant, he or she would still need to be aided by additional personnel in each school to ensure that it’s running the way it should be so as to not lose touch with some of the smaller, more rural schools.
Here’s the specific salary numbers:
El Dorado — $165,776
Junction City — $81,385
Norphlet — $91,222
Parkers Chapel — $113,887
Smackover — $76,528
Strong-Huttig — $90,000