MEET THE TEXAS EDUCATORS’ $100,000 CLUB: 7,300 SIX-FIGURE SALARIES COST TAXPAYERS $903 MILLION

Jul 19, 2018 by

7.18.18 – Forbes

 

[COMMENTS FROM DONNA GARNER:  The next time TASB and TASA start rolling out their hard-luck stories and their big tears about how underfunded Texas public schools are and how the Texas legislature simply must fork over more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money, let’s put this article in their faces. 

 

So far as I know, there has never been any independent, peer-reviewed, replicated quantitative research to prove that money equals (=) academic achievement. The truth is that the entire premise is wrong.

 

I know the premise is wrong because I taught in some of the poorest schools in Texas where we had fabulous phonics reading programs and turned out excellent readers who went on to become high-achievers and leaders in their communities.

 

I taught in one school where we teachers had to sweep the gym floor each day because we had bats that would leave their guano all around. Yet that school had a fine reading lab and turned out excellent readers K-12; by the way, we also had a large population of low-income, minority students in that district.

 

I taught in another school where we had no lunch program, no nurse, and make-shift classrooms.  Yet our students went on to colleges, universities, and the workplace.

 

In yet another school, we teachers had to provide our own curriculum by producing our own teaching units; our students received a classic education which helped them to graduate from well-known colleges and universities. Many of these students became community leaders.  

 

I taught in 14 different schools during my 33+ years of teaching; and without exception, there are two factors that make a great school – they have to be in this order:  (1) consistent discipline and (2) quality Type #1 (traditional, academic, fact-based) curriculum. 

 

Please notice that I did not list high administrative and/or teachers’ salaries, fancy buildings, indoor swimming pools, elaborate athletic facilities, resort-like cafeterias, terribly expensive technology. Nice as those things are, they do not guarantee a child will receive a quality education.

 

“Taxpayers, let’s speak out and tell the Texas legislators that we demand consistent discipline and quality Type #1 curriculum – neither of which requires paying exorbitant salaries to administrators and teachers. Yes, we should pay a fair and decent salary, particularly to classroom teachers who dedicate themselves to work with our nation’s most important product – our children; but those salaries must be within reason.”  

 

Neither should TASA/TASB be allowed to force us taxpayers to use our hard-earned dollars to pay for school administrators’ and board members’ dues so that they can hire lobbyists to go to the Texas Legislature and lobby for more funding for the schools.  In essence, we taxpayers are paying to lobby ourselves!

 

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“Meet The Texas Teachers $100,000 Club: 7,300 Six-Figure Salaries Cost Taxpayers $903 Million”

By Adam Andrzejewski

 

*PLEASE GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE THE VARIOUS SALARY CHARTS AND MAP THAT ACCOMPANY THIS ARTICLE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2018/07/18/meet-the-texas-teachers-100000-club-7300-six-figure-educators-cost-taxpayers-903-million/#4a13088910ae

 

Excerpts from this article:

 

 

Do public schools in Texas pay $232,000 for coordinating PE classes? What about paying $340,000 to a high school music teacher and $127,000 to a librarian?

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found 7,327 Texas public school administrators, athletic directors, teachers, and other employees pulled down six-figure salaries costing taxpayers nearly $1 billion. In fiscal year 2017, superintendents earned as much as $450,000; “executive directors for assessment and compliance” received up to $302,820; and principals made as much as $313,870.

Using our interactive mapping tool at OpenTheBooks.com, quickly review (by zip code) every Texas educator who made a salary of $100,000 or more in 2017. Just zoom in, click a pin (zip code), and scroll down to see the results.

 

Search all six-figure educators in Texas by zip code at OpenTheBooks.com.OPENTHEBOOKS

To see all 2017 Texas Education Agency payroll data at OpenTheBooks.com, go here: https://www.openthebooks.com/search/?PensionCode=4802&F_fiscalyear=2017&F_employeenm=

Less than six percent of these highly compensated Texas educators were teachers. In fact, we found as many athletic directors and business managers (406) earning six figure salaries as teachers (407). Additionally, “educational aides” received up to $203,658; “assistant principals” made up to $202,115; “counselors” earned up to $186,092. What about those “athletic directors?” They received up to $155,156.

 

Pampered Superintendents

Across the state, school districts pampered their superintendents with top salaries and huge perks. Districts even subsidized housing, loans, and legal fees for the Lone Star State’s most highly compensated superintendents.

  • Grand Prairie Independent School District Superintendent Susan Simpson Hull’s compensation increased from $325,795 (2015) to $399,795 (2017). Meanwhile, Hull renteda 2,700-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with a three-car garage and a swimming pool owned by the district and valued at $413,000. But it wasn’t enough. A forensic audit report commissioned by Grand Prairie ISD, showed $160,000 in home makeover renovations and “none of the costs related to the renovation of the property were presented to the Board for approval.”
  • Highland Park Independent School District Superintendent Thomas Trigg made $360,928 last year – that’s $88,110 more than his predecessor. Additionally, Highland Park gave Trigg an interest-free $1.2 million loan to live in the district and dished out another $20,000 to relocate Trigg to the area, according to the Dallas News.
  • Katy Independent School District Superintendent Lance Hindt’s salary skyrocketed from $230,000 (2015) to $343,006 (2017). However, in January, he’ll resign his position due to bullying and plagiarism accusations from 30 years ago. According to the San Antonio Express News, the district agreed to pay Hindt a $750,000 severance package. Hindt has denied any wrongdoing.

Huge Severance Pay for Terminated Contracts

Over a 15-month period, The Texas Monitor found 24 superintendents pocketed $6 millionin severance packages for early termination of contracts ₋₋ and it’s all on the taxpayer dime.

  • Johnson City Superintendent David Shanley retiredthree years before his $148,066 annual contract ended and received a $265,727 severance package. Shanley even took his district-issued desktop computer while the 689-student school recorded an almost $1-million budget deficit.
  • When Bloomington Superintendent Delores Warnell retired in March 2017, she received a $291,591 severance package on top of her $197,683 yearly salary. Warnell’s contractwasn’t up until 2020. Meanwhile, 85 percent of students in the district are economically disadvantaged, and just 13 percent of Bloomington students passed the statewide test in writing and 27 percent in reading.
  • Seguin Superintendent Stetson Roane left his $189,000 salary in March, two years before his contract expired and after he was accused of sexual harassment, according to San Antonio Express News. Roane denied any harassment and passed a polygraph test. Nevertheless, Roane received $256,066including back pay and six months of severance. Four months later, Roane signed a contract as the Raymondville ISD superintendent where he makes $147,000 per year.
  • Garland Superintendent Bobby Morrison made $302,532 in 2017 before he left the district with four years left on his contract. According to the Dallas News, Morrison received a $448,115 severance package – the total amount of salary owed, benefits, leave and vacation time, and other perks.

Huge salaries and huge deficits

Our OpenTheBooks.com investigation in Texas shows a strong correlation between the number of six-figure educators and accumulated district debt. Some of the districts are even facing student enrollment declines.

 

The top 10 Texas school districts paying six-figure salaries in 2017.OPENTHEBOOKS

Consider the three largest districts in the state:

  • Houston Independent School District (HSD) is facingan $83-million deficit for the 2018-19 school year and has seen a 1,931-student enrollment drop from 2016 to 2017. Still, HSD paid 312 educators six-figure salaries in 2017, costing taxpayers $38 million. Non-instructional district employees accounted for 40 percent of the six-figure salaries and cost taxpayers $15 million. For example, Chief Human Resource Officer Gloria Cavazos made $194,361 – the fourth-highest paid Houston administrator – and Superintendent Richard Carranza made $345,000.
  • Dallas Independent School District (DSD) has received multiple billion-dollar bondswhile racking up $4.8 billionin outstanding tax-supported debt (2016). Regardless, DSD paid 274 educators six-figure salaries in 2017, costing taxpayers $34 million. Superintendent Eliu Hinojosa made $335,000 while 102 principals in the district made $11.4 million, collectively. Even the sports department jumped on the gravy train: Athletic Director Gilbert Gaza made $142,140.
  • Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District will have to pull from their “rainy day” reserves to cover their $12.6 million deficit (2017). Further, Cypress-Fairbank has a 2018-19 projecteddeficit of $40 million. Despite its growing debt, the district paid 122 educators six-figure salaries in 2017, costing taxpayers $14.9 million. In total, 38 principals received $4.4 million collectively and Superintendent John Henry made $417,103. Chief Financial Officer Stuart Snow earned $256,311.

<< SNIP >>

 

Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski) is the CEO and Founder of OpenTheBooks.com – one of the largest private databases of government spending in the world.

Note: we reached out to a representative from each school district mentioned in the piece for comment multiple times. If a representative responds with a comment or context after publishing, we will incorporate the comment into the piece.

About the Texas Education Association salary data: Districts have two opportunities to ensure data submitted to the agency are correct. Texas public school districts and charter schools report staff salary data to TEA through their PEIMS submission.  The data go through an edit process, and the superintendent of the school district signs an acknowledgement that the data are correct to the best of his/her knowledge. All salary data in the piece was the result of the open records Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Learn more about the process here:

https://www.texasstudentdatasystem.org/TSDS/TEDS/1718A/PEIMS_Data_Standards/

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