Update:
 
How much should the Wichita School District offer to pay its next superintendent? 
 
The school board decided on a budget of over $325,000 a year, based on regional studies from the search firm it hired.
 
USD 259 sent KAKE News three breakdowns of numbers: two from its search firm's superintendent salary comparison, and a third, the district did itself. 
 
The statewide comparison looks at the next six school districts in enrollment size after Wichita, which is the largest district in Kansas.  Based on the Kansas Department of Education's numbers, Shawnee Mission had the highest paid salary last school year at just over $329,000. The study estimates that the superintendent will make more than $349,000 next year, which would be the first year for Wichita's new superintendent. Lawrence had the lowest-paid superintendent of the districts included in the survey with a salary of just over $253,000 last school year, with an estimated salary of more than $268,000 next year.
 
In looking at the nationwide study, it's not clear from documents presented to KAKE News as to how the districts were chosen. They range in enrollment size from 14,000 students in Kansas City, Missouri to over 266,000 in Broward County, Florida. The highest-paying district is Sacramento, California, with an estimated pay of more than $453,000 next year. It's also the most comparable in size with Wichita, at more than 47,000 students. 


The lowest-paying district in the nationwide study is Birmingham, Alabama at an estimated $242,000 plus next year. Birmingham has about half the number of students as Wichita.

USD 259 also looked at how much Kansas schools pay superintendents per student. Looked at that way, the superintendent of Elk Valley Schools in Elk County is the best paid, making more than $1200 per student. By comparison, Dr. Alicia Thompson here in Wichita makes just $7.38 per student.
 
One thing we noticed about the national study is that it doesn't look at how the salaries would change if adjusted for cost of living differences. For instance, that $435,000 Sacramento superintendent salary would be the equivalent of just $304,000 here in Wichita, which is less than what Dr. Thompson currently makes.
 
 
 
 
 
 

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The Wichita School Board has agreed to offer $300,000 to $325,000 a year to our next superintendent. 
 
The board says that's the going rate in our region right now.  But many of you wondered about that.
So we started digging into the numbers.
 
We asked the district for copies of the market evaluation and regional salary comparison it used to reach the approved range.  The District says they came from the search firm it hired, Ray and Associates. We will reach out to them next.
 
We also looked for other comparisons that might help you decide.
 
First, we reached out to national organizations, like the American Association of School Superintendents which does an annual salary and benefits study.
 
It only offered us a nationwide look, but we can tell that the median salary for superintendents of districts the same size as Wichita sits at $247,000 a year, with the high end sitting at just over $354,000.
 
We then took things a step further, looking up the superintendents and their salaries for the school districts closest in size to Wichita's 47,000-plus students.
 
We found the base salaries - before you add in benefits and bonuses - ranging from $205,000 a year for the superintendent in Manatee County, Florida, to $350,000 a year in Round Rock, Texas.
 
The median was a little bit higher than the national study showed, coming in at $280,000 in Washington D.C.
 
School (enrollment) Salary
Manatee Co, FL (49,181) $205,000
Rutherford Co, TN (47,186) $215,000
Charleston Co, SC (48,330) $241,993
Jefferson Parish, LA (48,160) $249,985
Henrico County, VA (50,191) $255,622
Cumberland Co, NC (49,278) $256,836
Columbus, OH (46,657) $262,520
Collier Co, FL (46,329)$268,483
Pasadena Public Schools, CA (50,614) $272,949
El Paso Independent Schools, TX (50,661) $277,000
Washington, DC (49,896) $280,000
Boston, MA (48,112) $300,000
Detroit, MI (48,782) $309,115
San Antonio TX (45,802) $315,000
Humble, TX (45,528) $316,240
Plano, TX (50,154) $319,987
Portland, OR (46,965) $322,354
Lewisville, TX (49,361) $325,000
Socorro Schools (El Paso), TX (47,061) $335,000
San Bernardino, CA (46,693) $342,121
Round Rock, TX (48,302) $350,000
 
But, we wondered, what if we put those numbers into a cost of living calculator to figure out what you'd need to make in Wichita to equal the spending power of those totals in other cities?
 
In almost every case, the numbers came down, with only one staying over the $300,000 mark, the superintendent of the Socorro Schools in El Paso, Texas. 
 
The low end fell all the way to just under $120,000 a year, with the median down to $205,000.
 
Adjusted for cost of living in Wichita:
Pasadena Public Schools, CA $119,874
Washington, DC $151,713
Boston, MA $159,583
Manatee Co, FL $162,566
Rutherford Co, TN $173,875
Charleston Co, SC $179,842
Collier Co, FL $197,371
Portland, OR $198,671
Jefferson Parish, LA $200,755
Henrico County, VA $205,303
Plano, TX $239,330
Round Rock, TX $245,150
Columbus, OH $247,936
San Bernardino, CA $254,950
Cumberland Co, NC $256,836
Lewisville, TX $259,491
El Paso Independent Schools, TX $277,000
Humble, TX $279,277
Detroit, MI $284,372
San Antonio, TX $286,236
Socorro Schools (El Paso), TX $335,000
 
Of course, this is just comparing public school superintendents to public school superintendents. It doesn't consider the private sector salaries districts are also competing against for good candidates.