in Houston, Texas
Schools prepare for budget cuts as superintendents get raises; Amarillo, River Road ISD bosses getting pay boost
Monday, Feb 07, 2011, 02:03PM CST
By Steve Miller
school supplies

The bad news for schools around Amarillo is that the state's budget troubles may lead to spending cuts.

The good news for a couple school district bosses around Amarillo is that their quality of life will get a boost, anyway.

 

The Amarillo Globe-News reports two area superintendents are getting raises despite proposed reduced state funding for public schools that has most school officials threatening layoffs.

 

The school board-approved raises are going to Amarillo Independent School District Superintendent Rod Schroder, whose 2 percent bump puts his salary at $265,980, and River Road Independent School District Superintendent Randy Owen, whose pay hike of nearly 7 percent boosts his salary to $117,500.

 

Schroder's pay has shot up 11 percent since 2008, when his salary was $239,526 -- the state average for similarly sized districts was $213,829. Owen’s pay has increased 12 percent since 2008, when he earned $105,000 -- the average was $98,861.

 

Terry Grier, superintendent of  Houston Independent School District, the nation’s seventh-largest, is paid $300,000 a year.

 

It was just last week that Schroder was in Austin testifying before the Senate Education Committee, asking for some reprieve from the $5 billion in proposed budget cuts over two years.

 

Representing the Texas School Alliance, a legislative in-house report said that Schroder talked about “tools districts need to manage the shortfall in three areas: class size, furloughs, and staff reductions.”

 

The Texas School Alliance, according to Sunshine Review, is a taxpayer-funded lobbying group composed of mostly large districts in the state, including Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. Among its lobbying partners is HillCo.

 

Amarillo ISD handed out across the board raises last year, but Schroder has changed his tune: "We may have to eliminate certain things," Schroder told the Amarillo paper last month.

 

River Road ISD, a district of about 1,500 students, last year let go two assistant principals and three teachers.

 

Neither Schroder nor Owen responded to the Amarillo reporter's call for comment on the raises.

 

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.


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Photo of school supplies by flickr user Claudia Snell, used via a Creative Commons license.

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