What's UP with School Taxes: High-Paid Superintendents

As Long Island school districts struggle with soaring expenses and less state aid, some critics are taking a closer look at the salaries of school

WOODBURY - As Long Island school districts struggle with soaring expenses and less state aid, some critics are taking a closer look at the salaries of school superintendents, which are the highest in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has proposed capping superintendent salaries in the largest districts at $175,000 a year. Of the 124 school superintendents on Long Island, 104 make more than that. In fact, each of the top five highest-earning superintendents in the state makes more than $300,000 a year. Port Jefferson School Superintendent Dr. Max Riley earns $200,000 a year. He says his salary and those of his colleagues are driven by the competitive nature of the job and the public's demand for excellent schools."You want to find someone who will work for $140,000, or someone who will do a superintendency for $90,000, go to Nebraska," he says. "But take a look at the results they are getting too."Besides high salaries, many superintendents also get lucrative benefits, including tens of thousands of dollars a year for retirement annuities, free use of district-owned cars, computers, and cell phones. However, Riley says that reducing the salaries and perks would have no effect on school budgets. Larry Levy, of Hofstra University, says the problem isn't that superintendents are paid too much, but that there are too many of them. "If we could cut down on the number of districts, we wouldn't have this level of administrative problems," he says.

For an interview with Bay Shore Schools Superintendent Evelyn Holman go to Channel 612 on your iO Digital Cable Box and select iO Extra.

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