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GAPS ad says new superintendent will be paid $220K, here's how that compares

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Rob Saxton interview 01 (copy)

GAPS interim superintendent Rob Saxton and board members Brad Wilson and Roger Nyquist 

Greater Albany Public Schools is offering a base rate salary of $220,000 to superintendent candidates. The question is, how does this rate?

A survey of some Oregon school districts shows this is about what superintendents make — for districts nearly twice the size. 

The search consultant firm, McPherson & Jacobson, said that this was the number to go with if the district wants to remain competitive and attract candidates from California and Washington. The board signed off on the number to be included in job postings at an October meeting.

The district is searching for a new superintendent after firing Superintendent Melissa Goff in June. Rob Saxton has been filling in as interim superintendent in the meantime, hired in August on a 190-day contract.

The superintendent applications opened Oct. 26, and they will close Dec. 13.

“You have to pay people more since the pandemic started since pre-pandemic wages are not filling the gaps right now,” said GAPS board Chair Eric Aguinaga. “Part of increasing the salary is to get gold standard superintendent candidates. What we’re really hoping for is someone who’s going to raise our education levels that have dropped since COVID.”

Aguinaga said that there are several third graders reading at first grade level in the district because of pandemic learning setbacks. He added the district wants somebody who will stay with GAPS for at least 10 years.

Not everyone agrees with the “window price” base rate salary number, however. Board member Michael Thomson believes that offering a number above $200,000 is unnecessary.

“My feeling is surprise,” he said. “One of my big complaints was that we had no written information before us. It was a decision by the board, not the search team.”

Before GAPS Goff was fired in July, her base salary was $181,440. Saxton's short-term contract has him earning a base salary of $150,000. There are 8,943 students enrolled in the district.

With enrollment at 16,506, the Eugene School District has about 85% more students than GAPS, and the interim superintendent there, Cydney Vandercar, makes $220,000. 

Mid-Valley Media obtained the 2020-21 superintendent salaries of a few other districts in the mid-Willamette Valley and Bend.

The Bend La-Pine Administrative School District superintendent, Steve Cook, makes $230,328. There are 17,375 students enrolled in the district.

The Corvallis School District superintendent, Ryan Noss, makes $153,444. There are 6,378 students enrolled in the district.

The Philomath School District superintendent, Susan Halliday, makes $114,583. There are 1,508 students enrolled in the district.

The Lebanon Community School District superintendent, Bo Yates, makes $140,000. There are 3,792 students enrolled in the district.

The Sweet Home School District superintendent, Lisa Riggs, makes $139,050. There are 2,170 students enrolled in the district.

The final salary for the future GAPS superintendent will be decided upon in the negotiation process.

Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_. 

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