How much do school district superintendents make?
Two Washington County school districts will see new superintendents next school year, and while schools across the county vary wildly in size, so, too, do the salaries for each of the school districts' top jobs. In fact, based on salaries of other school districts in the Portland area, the size of a school district appears to play little in determining the salary of a superintendent.
This summer, the Forest Grove and Tigard-Tualatin school districts will see new superintendents take over.
In Forest Grove, school board members settled on a contract with newly named superintendent, David Parker, who formerly worked as the assistant superintendent of the Newberg School District. Parker will be started at $165,000 annually, almost exactly what former Forest Grove superintendent Yvonne Curtis was earning before her resignation last December. Curtis worked in the district for nine years. She earned $164,976 annually.
While Forest Grove is on the smaller side of districts in the region with around 6,000 students, the superintendent pay doesn't necessarily follow suit. Parker's salary will be quite comparable to larger districts in the Portland area.
The superintendent of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District — a district much larger than Forest Grove — made $164,167 last year, slightly less than Curtis. The West Linn-Wilsonville district has around 9,500 students.
It is a similar story in Sherwood, where Superintendent Heather Cordie made $164,722 last year. Her district enrolls 1,000 fewer students than Forest Grove.
The superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District earned $170,000, more than $5,000 more than Forest Grove, though the district has only 1,000 more students.
On the other end of the enrollment scale, large school districts also see differences in pay on a per-student basis.
Hillsboro School District, the fourth largest in the state, enrolls around 21,000 students. Superintendent Mike Scott's annual salary is $187,040.
In Clackamas County, the North Clackamas School District — which has about 4,000 fewer students than Hillsboro — pays their superintendent about $10,000 more. Superintendent Matt Utterback has a salary of $197,500.
In the Tigard-Tualatin School District — the state's 10th largest district — incoming superintendent Sue Rieke-Smith will receive a salary of $190,000 when she starts in July, following the retirement of Superintendent Ernie Brown. The Tigard-Tualatin School District enrolls about 12,000 students. Rieke-Smith is the superintendent of Springfield Public Schools near Eugene.
Unsurprisingly, superintendents of the Portland area's two largest districts bring home the highest pay. Beaverton School District superintendent Don Grotting — who came to the district in 2016 — makes nearly $100,000 more than Scott, with an annual salary of $272,950. Beaverton has nearly twice the student population of Hillsboro. With around 48,000 students, the Portland Public Schools District leads the state in both student population and superintendent salary, with $295,000.
Portland Public Schools: $295,000
North Clackamas: $197,500
Lake Oswego: $170,000
Forest Grove: $164,976
West Linn-Wilsonville: $164,167
Gaston: $77,000, plus $33,000 as SPED director
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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