What it pays to run a school district

  • Fri May 21st, 2010 4:11pm
  • News

By Gale Fiege, Herald Writer

Parents asked the question several times at a hearing this week about possibly closing historic Trafton Elementary, the beloved school east of Arlington.

“Why can’t the superintendent take a pay cut?”

And it’s not surprising: School district officials say they would save $275,000 by boarding up the longest-running school in the state and sending Trafton’s 135 students to other elementary schools.

Superintendent Kristine McDuffy, who was hired in 2008, makes $195,000.

As school districts around Snohomish County and the state face cutbacks, loss of programs and teacher layoffs, administrative salaries could be a hot-button issue. Public school superintendents are better paid than many other public officials in the state.

Six superintendents among the county’s 15 school districts earn more than $200,000. Ten earn more than Gov. Chris Gregoire; 11 make more than Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon; all but two make more than Randy Dorn, the state’s schools chief.

The county’s top six earn more than Dr. Norman Thiersch, the county’s medical examiner and best paid county employee, and Dr. Gary Goldbaum, who heads the Snohomish Health District.

Many superintendents already have voluntarily frozen their salaries, stopped collecting travel allowances and donated time back to their districts. Others have no assistants, and benefits at each district may vary.

Most of the superintendents in Snohomish County have doctorates, and many have longevity in their jobs. And superintendents for the smallest districts have two jobs: They’re also school principals.

Superintendent salaries

$225,014: Marci Larsen, Mukilteo

$221,052: David Burgess, Lake Stevens

$218,242: Larry Francois, Northshore

$216,610: Nick Brossoit, Edmonds

$211,692: Ken Hoover, Monroe

$202,115: Jean Shumate, Stanwood-Camano

$196,062: Larry Nyland, Marysville

$195,000: Kristine McDuffy, Arlington

$194,030: Gary Cohn, Everett

$193,750: William Mester, Snohomish

$150,265: Karen Koschak, Granite Falls

$133,800: Dennis Haddock, Lakewood

$131,000: Dan Chaplik, Sultan

$117,428: Larry Johnson, Darrington

$38,000: Martin Boyle, Index

Correction, May 20, 2010: The original version of this article incorrectly reported a much higher salary for Martin Boyle, superintendent of Index schools. Boyle works part-time for his district.