Superintendent salaries raise eyebrows

February 27, 2018
ATA News Staff

If the four Alberta school boards with the highest superintendent salaries paid salaries equal to the average of superintendents in B.C., Ontario and Saskatchewan, they could each hire approximately two additional teachers.

This is the result of an internal analysis conducted by the Alberta Teachers’ Association following a recent report that Alberta superintendents experienced a 10 per cent average salary increase between 2015 and 2017.

The report was prepared for the Alberta School Boards Association. It stated that, between 2011 and 2016, Alberta superintendents experienced significantly higher increases in base salary than did teachers and non-certificated administrative staff within school boards.

The study compared the base salaries of Alberta superintendents with those of their counterparts in Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

The report noted that, according to Statistics Canada, the average weekly earnings in Alberta have historically been, and remain, the highest of the four provinces examined. Despite this, average Alberta wages have been declining since 2014. Meanwhile, the salaries of Alberta superintendents have continued to rise during that same period.

Education Minister David Eggen said he was very concerned to see this kind of salary growth during a time of fiscal restraint.

“These increases are clearly out of line,” he said in a prepared statement. “Teachers have done their part by supporting a common sense agreement that freezes salaries and invests in new supports in our classrooms. Frankly, it’s time those at the top did their part too. We are exploring our options to reign in compensation — including regulating a salary cap or grid. Until further notice, I won’t be signing off on any more contracts.”

The report also revealed a nearly $160,000 per year gap between the highest and lowest superintendent salaries. Edmonton Catholic was the highest at $357,000 and Northwest Francophone the lowest at $229,000.

The report pointed out that Edmonton Catholic has the fourth highest student population in the province and the jurisdiction with the third highest paid superintendent, Parkland School Division, has the ninth highest student population.

“This would indicate that size of student population is not a good predictor of base salary for school board superintendents,” the report states. ❚

Teacher comments on social media

The five zeros in six years sucks to say the least. I have no idea how much my super makes, but this I know: he's the first one that I've had that I like and trust. I feel that I can talk with him or email him with anything. And I have.

I realize superintendents are responsible and accountable to the board that hires them, but frankly they divest much of this accountability and responsibility to everyone else in the system around them and below them, so beyond their board relations and being the talking head of the division, what do they actually do that warrants $200,000-plus?

My school can't afford to pay for the students that need bus passes, our grad has been whittled down to almost nothing, but hey let’s give all the $ to people who don't even interact with students ... no worries (she said sarcastically).