In February when the Elmbrook School Board hired the district's first new superintendent in 17 years, members offered him one of the highest superintendent salaries in Wisconsin, behind the state's most populous districts of Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha and Green Bay.
Superintendent Mark Hansen also came in higher than his predecessor, Matt Gibson, who when he retired last June had an annual salary of $158,368. Gibson's salary last year was 13th highest among the state's public school superintendents, according to salary information released on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's website.
Hansen, a former teacher, principal and administrator in districts including Waukesha and Pewaukee, was hired at an annual salary of $170,000, plus a $5,000 annual annuity.
Board members looked at salary comparables of superintendents outside of Wisconsin, in districts were the top administrator's wages often exceeded $200,000. When Elmbrook recruited nationally for Gibson's successor, the district's consultant search firm said the district may pay "in the range of $185,000."
Patch's database, using the DPI information, covers not just superintendents but all public school administrative salaries in 424 districts statewide. The data is from the 2011-12 school year.
DPI also reports on overall staffing cuts
DPI also reported that school districts across the state saw a larger than usual cut in staffing in the 2011-12 school year than in previous years. According to a press release from the DPI, 2,312 positions were eliminated and 60 percent of those spots were teacher jobs.
"The 2011-13 state budget made historically high cuts to education funding," the press release said. "General school aids were cut by $749 million and the per pupil revenue limit was reduced by $1.6 billion from prior law. These large reductions accelerated the budget and staffing cuts many districts have been making over the years."
Top 20 Salaries for Public School District Administrators (2011-12)*
*Note: Some of these districts hired new administrators for 2012-13 and set new salaries.
- $265,000 — MPS
- $201,437 — Madison
- $195,000 — Kenosha
- $181,962 — Green Bay
- $168,938 — River Falls
- $168,000 — Whitefish Bay
- $166,212 — Eau Claire
- $166,531 — Hamilton
- $163,256 — Greendale
- $162,765 — Peshtigo
- $161,558 — Franklin
- $159,721 — Mukwonago
- $158,368 — Elmbrook
- $158,000 — Arrowhead UHS
- $158,000 — Menomonee Falls
- $157,440 — Wauwatosa
- $156,125 — Wausau
- $155,900 — Oregon
- $155,675 — Middleton-Cross Plains
- $155,500 — Stevens Point
Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction