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Dearborn Superintendent's Compensation Ranks 48th in State

A new database compiled by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy shows Dearborn Public Schools' superintendent is earning $218,355 in salary and benefits.

The superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools may be well compensated—but not when compared to Michigan school districts of a similar size.

According to a new database compiled by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and using 2012 salary and benefit information provided by school districts throughout the state, the total compensation for DPS Superintendent Brian Whiston is $218,355.

This includes a base salary of $170,000, plus a $36,678 annual pension contribution, $1,177 insurance and $10,500 annuity. He also receives 18 sick days and 28 vacation days per year.

Michigan superintendents earn an average salary of $115,000 and average compensation package of $155,000, according to the database.

"While compensation for superintendents only amounts to about 1 percent of public school spending, the public should have easy access to this particular information,” said Michael Van Beek, Mackinac's director of education policy, in a press release. “As CEOs of districts and often the highest paid government employee in a local community, superintendent pay deserves an extra level of public scrutiny."

But in Dearborn, the numbers also tell a different story: Whiston is the least compensated leader of a school district of Dearborn's size in the state of Michigan.

Dearborn is the fifth largest school district in the state in terms of enrollment—with more than 19,000 students as of its October count day. It trails behind Detroit, Utica, Plymouth-Canton and Grand Rapids.

But when looking at superintendent compensation, Dearborn clocks in at No. 48 on a list of 606 school districts, with 36 districts excluded from the report.

In Wayne County, Dearborn is fourth on the list—coming in nearly $20,000 below Grosse Pointe Public Schools, which has an enrollment of less than 9,000 students.

Of the state’s 10 districts with more than 15,000 students enrolled, Whiston’s compensation package comes in dead last.

The report shows that compensation for the superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools—with close to 19,000 students—comes in at $41,847 in benefits. However, the district does not currently have a full-time superintendent. Acting Superintendent Jeremy Hughes, who lives in Dearborn, also earns $700 per day, or up to about $182,000 for a full year, according to Plymouth-Canton Patch.

Detroit Public Schools were not included in the report.

See the full database at http://www.mackinac.org/depts/epi/salary.aspx.

Kamal Makki February 23, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Very intelligently expressed – well done Lee
Gary LaPointe February 25, 2013 at 05:38 AM
This salary information is published on the front page of every public school web site in Michigan! It's a big button titled "Budget and Salary Compensation - Transparency Reporting" with a image of the state in the middle. It's a lot more than salaries, it's pages and pages of financial disclosures (operating, association dues, healthcare, and other budgeting). All districts have to list all staff making more the $100,000 (I'm not sure if that is salary or total compensation, I think just salary), Dearborn Public Schools seems to list about everyone all the way down to the people making $3,000 a year (it's the first time I've noticed that.
Gary LaPointe February 25, 2013 at 06:05 AM
Having worked in central office in several districts in Wayne County, I think it's pretty rare that a superintendent would work only 40 hours a week, 50 hours would probably be a short week. I'm just say that as a minimum throws those numbers off by 25%. It's also not my experience that the superintendent is out of the office the whole of Christmas break, winter break, spring breaks, snow days or days when they should be home sick. I'm sure some would gladly take $10 less an hour if it meant they could go home after 8 hours and not work during the breaks and be called at home when they are sick or on vacation. (That's just my opinion) I'm not sure what you mean with July not on the schedule, next July? At http://dearbornschools.org/web-calendar/month.calendar/2013/ they don't have anything for next year (yet) including a school start date. Some districts don't set the board calendar for the next year (starting July 1) until the last meeting in June. Some of my busiest time in the schools was the end of June and July. June was finalizing all the end of the year issues: finances, reporting, etc. July was starting everything up for the next year (which starts July) and ordering what needs to be ordered and getting everything ready for the current year.
Gary LaPointe February 25, 2013 at 06:09 AM
All districts in Michigan should have a finance transparency button on the front page of their web site. All salaries over $100,000 must be listed. Some districts (including Dearborn), list way more than that. FYI, It's reported by position, not by the persons name, so it might just say "elementary principal" but you might not know know which principal (but if it's only one, I'd guess it's the one with the most seniority).
Gary LaPointe February 25, 2013 at 06:17 AM
I was just thinking about this more. In one of my districts, we didn't get all those breaks off, central office administrators got 2 days for Christmas and 2 days for New Year, one day for Easter break. In another district, we got many of those breaks off, but many people were still in on many of those days (but that one gave less vacation days). To be clear, while I live in Dearborn, I have not worked for Dearborn Schools.

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