44% of administrators earned more than six figures in salary alone, an increase from last year44% of public school administrators earn more than $100,000 - in salary alone. #WIright #WIpolitics Click To Tweet Public school administrators in Wisconsin earn three times more than average Wisconsinites. #WIright #WIpolitics Click To Tweet
October 21, 2019
By Ola Lisowski
The average K-12 public school administrator earned $129,563 in salary and benefits in 2018, a $3,000 raise over the prior year.
Taxpayers spent more than $586 million for administrator pay in the 2018-19 academic year, according to new data from the Department of Public Instruction.
Salaries average $98,239.44 per year and total $129,563 when including the generous benefits.
The massive data release includes employee compensation for principals, superintendents, directors of special education, instruction, and a slew of other positions.
A staggering 44 percent of all administrators earned more than six figures in salary alone. Last year, 41 percent of all administrators earned more than six figures. When considering fringe benefits, 84 percent earned north of $100,000.
The highest-paid administrator in the state is Dr. Jennifer Cheatham, who earned $246,374 in salary and $54,778 in benefits to total $301,152 for her role as Madison Metropolitan School District’s superintendent. That means Cheatham earned seven times more than Madison’s per capita income of $24,740 in salary alone. The superintendent also saw a $5,139 raise over last year.
Just 35 percent of Madison Metropolitan students are proficient in English language arts, and 38 percent are proficient in math.
A comparison with the rest of the Wisconsin workforce shows just how bloated the salaries are. On average, public school administrators earn more than three times that of the statewide per capita income of $30,557. The median household income in the state is $56,759. In other words, just one public school administrator out-earns the average Wisconsin household by a significant amount.
Meanwhile, many public school districts have struggled with their finances while asking taxpayers for additional funds through referenda. In the 2019 spring elections, voters approved $783 million in tax increases through ballot questions.
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), the largest district in the state, is facing a $108.5 million deficit by 2023-24. District enrollment has declined. MPS’ superintendent, Dr. Keith Posley, earned $261,451 in 2018, 12 times Milwaukee’s per capita income of $21,627. His predecessor, Dr. Darienne Driver, earned $283,041 in her last year as superintendent.
MPS’ Central Office on Vliet Street employs 58 administrators who earn an average of $135,311.
If you’ve ever wondered why there never seems to be enough money for education, look no further.