Your School Superintendent’s Contract: Salary, Perks and Parent Reaction

It’s public information that no one seems to know about and our superintendents don’t really want to talk about it, either.

In the Quad Cities’ three largest school districts, contracts obtained by News 8 show the Moline School District’s Superintendent, Dr. David Moyer, is making $175,000 in the 2013-14 School Year.  Dr. Mike Oberhaus, the Superintendent of the Rock Island-Milan School District makes $170,000 and Dr. Art Tate, the Superintendent of the Davenport School District makes $195,868.

Scroll down to find a link to your superintendent’s contract. 

Many of the parents we spoke to say their superintendent’s salary was surprising enough.  However, after digging deeper, we noticed the perks some of our area’s superintendents receive.

We found that, for at least the past ten years, superintendents of the Moline, Rock Island and Davenport school districts have received extra money for an “in-district travel allowance.”

Dr. Moyer, Dr. Oberhaus and Dr. Tate each declined to go on camera to answer questions about their compensation and travel allowances.

When we e-mailed our questions, Dr. Moyer’s administrative assistant, Bev Parr, said, “At this time, he [Dr. Moyer] would rather not discuss contracts.”

Dr. Moyer receives $600 per month for in-district travel for the 2013-2014 school year.

Holly Sparkman, Communications Director with the Rock Island-Milan School District, did respond, saying “It looks like we don’t have any parameters in the policy to describe in-district travel…but it would entail travel between the 15 buildings…It includes his car and then mileage.”

Dr. Oberhaus’ travel allowance for the 2013-2014 school year is $500 per month.

Dr. Tate’s response via the Davenport School District’s Communications Specialist, Dawn Saul, was similar. Saul stated, “In-district travel allowance is used for gasoline and routine automobile maintenance…Dr. Tate’s in-district travel includes travel to Davenport Schools.”

Dr. Tate receives $800 per month for in-district travel for the 2013-2014 school year.

After doing the math, we found that $500, $600, and $800 would equate to a lot of trips every month to every one of the three district’s schools.  We used the Internal Revenue Services’ Standard Mileage Rate for 2013 for our calculations, which is 56.5 cents per mile.

In Davenport, $800 equals 1,416 miles, or approximately 24 times around the school district per month.

Saul said in an e-mail that Dr. Tate “spends 2-3 hours per day in the schools and visits each of [the district’s] 30 schools every two weeks.  Our district is 109 sq. miles and includes Blue Grass, Buffalo, and Walcott.  Dr. Tate also serves on five local boards.”

We used the same formula in Moline: $600 equals 1,062 miles, or approximately 32 times around the school district.

In the Rock Island-Milan School District, $500 equals 885 miles, or approximately 37 times to each school each month.

Sparkman says Dr. Oberhaus “is out in school buildings at least four out of the five week days, either for evaluations or to just see what is going on in the classrooms. [He] is in his office around 6:00am each day getting the miscellaneous stuff done so he can get out and visit with staff. He also likes to attend evening events and always makes it to see one event of each sport group we have at the high school.”

In our research, we also found that some superintendents do not receive this perk in this capacity.

In the Bettendorf School District, Dr. Theron Schutte has a $184,125 salary and receives $80 per month for in-district travel.

In the United Township High School School District, Dr. Jay Morrow makes $157,000 and doesn’t receive any reimbursement for in-district travel or travel within a 50-mile radius around the school district.

Many parents we talked to said in-district travel expenses should already be part of the superintendent’s salary and not be a perk.

They also have their own ideas about where that extra money could go.

“If it were me, I would give like half of that and donate it,” said Bonnie Jenious.

“The district already doesn’t have enough money to give our kids what they need in the schools the way it is, so that’s the problem with it that I have,” said Heidi Neill. “Our schools are falling apart.”

“The kids could definitely use more funds in the school for different programs,” said Pam Middleton.

“I think the teachers should definitely get compensated for what they actually do,” said Abbey George.

“I think the teachers probably need some more funding,” added Daryn Smith.

During a time of budget battles and classroom cuts, many of the parents we talked to said since others – like teachers – are doing more with less, maybe some of our superintendents should start doing the same.

“I just think they’re making the cuts in the wrong places,” said George.

“As long as he’s being a good superintendent and he’s doing what he’s supposed to do then I’m fine with it,” said Jenious.

“It’s definitely probably in the wrong place,” said Middleton.

Read your superintendent’s contract – click the link below:

United Township Superintendent Contract

Rock Island-Milan Superintendent Contract

Moline Superintendent Contract

Davenport Superintendent Contract

Bettendorf Superintendent Contract

8 comments

  • Barbra & Jack Donachy

    One of the dumbest school reports we’ve seen, and we’ve seen some doozies. With the myriad problems our public schools are facing (not the least of which is widespread incompetence among superintendents and principals, you’re focusing on $600 dollar in-district travel stipends?Why don’t you take some time to actually learn a little about how schools are run before publishing again. Editors???!

    • Mathilda Moon

      I agree wholeheartedly. I’m shocked that WQAD has cheapened itself to inflammatory stories like these, just to fill a slow news day. The lack of outrage by the “parents” over the salaries indicates right there that 1) they have no news story and 2) they were looking for a fight where there was none. Shame on WQAD.

  • kerri

    gives me a whole new respect for channel 6 news!!! Dr. Tate oversees 2000 employees. What does the CEO of John Deere get?

  • Barb Safiran

    I was disappointed in your one-sided report. You failed to mention the work that superintendents do. They deserve their salaries. Maybe you could compare superintendents’ salaries to CEOs and see the difference.

  • RRocket

    The problem I have is that the supt of my district took a raise when the teachers basically had their salaries frozen.

  • karl

    I am keenly aware of spending and as a journalist of several decades I appreciate the digging a reporter can do. In this case, the reporter stopped short in several ways. The real money is not in an 800 dollar perk or one mans salary.

    http://ledger.illinoiscomptroller.com/ledger/?LinkServID=FDD6EE50-0F10-D449-0F2A4688A93E66C8

    That web site is public information on what all your teachers and others are taking from the taxpayers. In retirement, it’s not unusual for a teacher or fireman to get a million dollars in tax paid retirement. And they don’t pay in but a pittance. Compare that to the private sector…you know…those who pay the teachers and you’ll find a huge discrepancy. That 100 billion dollar debt was not the result of a few superintendents, but with tens of thousands of overpaid public sector employees.

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