Before adding the $5.4 billion Democratic state Rep. Lon Burnam says was cruelly torn from the public education budget in the last session, the Legislature, among their many questions, might ask how much of that tax money will be used to pad the salaries of administrators.
While education advocates and some politicians, including Burnam, D-Fort Worth, waited for the sky to fall on Texas schoolchildren, the number of administrators making more than $100,000 increased by 63 percent in the Austin Independent School District, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
As Texas Watchdog reported last year, a remarkable number of school administrators managed to keep their jobs, while school districts in the wake of budget cuts eliminated thousands of vacant teaching positions.
Even as the last Legislature went into its session knowing it would have to cut the overall public education budget by several billion dollars, KXAN-TV in Austin reported on the comfortable salary and benefits packages for school superintendents in the Austin area.
This year, 70 of the 11,973 employees for AISD make annual salaries of more than $100,000, up from 56 just a year ago and from 43 at the end of the school year in 2008.
The operations budget during the same five years has dropped 16 percent, the district shed more than 1,100 education positions and overall district employment was flat, the paper reports.
The big-ticket earners are the 12 members of what the Statesman calls the “senior cabinet” of advisors to the sometimes secretive Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. How positively medieval of us to think that only U.S. presidents have cabinets.
The rest of those in the $100,000-plus club are executive directors and directors, and high and middle school principals. Always good to know public schools still have principals.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.
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Photo of schoolbus by flickr user sunchild_dd, used via a Creative Commons license.