Oklahoma Superintendents’ Salaries

A recent report from Oklahoma Watch reveals some interesting data about charter school superintendent salaries



Oklahoma Watch published a list of Oklahoma Superintendents’ salaries in an article, “Data Center Update: How Much Does Your Superintendent Make?” by Jennifer Palmer.

As Palmer points out, “For some superintendents, especially in smaller districts, total pay reflects multiple jobs, such as working as a principal or teacher.”

Some superintendents split their time between two districts or work a partial year. On the chart, this is noted with “**”.

Charter schools, which are funded with public money, are noted with a “*”.

What I found interesting and useful about the list is the last column, which indicates a superintendent’s total pay per student. There were astounding differences in numbers, especially comparing the compensation of traditional public school superintendents with charter school superintendents. I question why school districts agree to double up on superintendents in the same district. Doesn’t this make a charter school a private school being paid for, at least in part, with taxpayer funds?

For example, if you look at Tulsa County in the table, Superintendent Deborah Gist’s total compensation is $319,291 to oversee a district enrollment of 39,596 students, which makes her pay per student $8. Compare that with Kipp Tulsa’s (charter) superintendent’s compensation of $138, 837 to oversee 321 students at a price of $433 per student.

The Jenks superintendent’s compensation is listed as $239,152 for a student population of 12,319 students, or $19 per student, compared with Tulsa Honor Academy’s (charter) superintendent who makes $93,870 or $306 per student. The superintendent of Deborah Brown Community School, another Tulsa charter, makes $466 per student with a salary of $124,429 to oversee just 267 students.

Across the board, most charter administrators’ salaries and compensation packages were way out of line with the number of students in their schools.

Why are charter school administrator salaries so far out of line with regular public school superintendents’ salaries?

NOTE: Source for table screen shots below is OKLAHOMA WATCH


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Betty Casey has been editor of TulsaKids for over 20 years – her youngest child was 3-years-old when she started working for the magazine. She and her husband Wes have three young adult children. Betty’s blog ranges from writing about current issues or information of interest to local parents, reflecting on her life without kids at home, and posting a few recipes now and then. (Cooking and running are two or her favorite past-times.) Betty is the author/illustrator of three children’s books, "May Finds Her Way," "That is a Hat" and "The Prince of the Prairie" (The RoadRunner Press). She was named Blogger of the Year in 2014 by The Great Plains Journalism Awards, was a finalist in 2015 and won again in 2016. Most recently, she was named the 2017 News Blogger of the Year. She has also won numerous writing awards from the Parenting Media Association.

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