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Getting Their Due: 14th AS&U Compensation Survey--School Administrators

School administrators received above-average salary increases this school year, outpacing their private-sector counterparts and reversing a trend that saw raises trailing those of other professionals.

According to American School & University's 14th Compensation Survey, 1999-00 national average salary increases for school administrators reached 4.9%-higher than the 4.4% received by private-sector professionals and a significant increase from the 3.4% reported by school administrators two years ago when this survey last was done. The primary determinantsfor pay raises at school districts were budget decision (30.8%), collective bargaining (30.1%), competitive practices (16%), cost-of-living (5.8%) and other factors (17.3%).

To arrive at the results for AS&U's report, an in-depth survey was mailed to superintendents at the nation's K-12 public school districts. Questions explored salary and benefits practices for seven key management positions, with full-time teacher used to gauge compensation relationships among the administrative titles. Usable returns were received from 12% of respondents, and represent school districts with the following enrollment sizes:

-Under 1,000: 34.1%

-1,000-1,499: 9.6%

-1,500-2,499: 16.5%

-2,500-4,999: 19.9%

-5,000 or more: 19.9%

The eight school positions surveyed include:


-Deputy/Associate Superintendent.

-Chief Business Officer.

-Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds.

-Director of Purchasing.

-Director of Security/Safety.

-Director of Facilities Planning.

-Full-time Teacher.

A number of factors should be considered when comparing salaries at your district with the national figures reported. For example, such things as geography, level of expertise, tenure, supply and demand for a specific job, and the district's ability to pay will influence the final results.

This year's survey adds the position of Director of Facilities Planning. With the increased attention and expense associated with construction, repair and planning of facilities, more school districts are bringing this expertise in-house. However, it is primarily the larger districts, or those that are rapidly growing, that have this position.

More than just salary School administrators receive a variety of compensation in addition to salary. Approximately 4.5% of districts have bonus programs in place. Of those that do, bonuses most often were based on a combination of overall district/system performance and individual administrator performance.

In addition, many school administrators enjoy a host of perquisites. Among them include full- and partial-paid medical/hospital, dental and life-insurance programs, and pension distributions. Other popular perquisites include professional development, professional association membership, and the ability to make outside income.

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