Superintendent Salaries Go Up as Number of Districts Goes Down

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 12:00 am  

“Arkansas is a rural state. We have a lot of rural districts that are small districts,” he said.

The number of districts in the state has dropped by nearly a quarter over the past decade, a result of the educational reforms forced by the state Supreme Court’s Lake View ruling in 2002. And that has, by definition, increased the average size of school districts in the state.

Mertens predicted more consolidation in the next few years because there are several districts that have continued to lose enrollment, dropping near what he called “the magic number” of 350 students in all classes, kindergarten through high school.

Under state law, districts that enroll fewer than 350 students for two consecutive years then have one year to arrange annexation to another district. If the district is unable to work out an annexation plan on its own, the state Board of Education takes over and arranges consolidation.

(Correction, Oct. 3, 2013: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Tony Prothro's compensation from the Benton School District included "the cost of getting rid of him." In fact, the difference between his salary and his total compensation was accrued vacation and sick time that was payable when his contract ended in June 2012.)



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