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Corrected: Springdale Superintendent Rollins Tops Salary List

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(Corrections have been made to this article. See end for detail.)

Jimmy Rollins, the longtime superintendent of the Springdale School District in northwest Arkansas, received salary and benefits exceeding $300,000 in the 2014-15 academic year, making him the highest paid public school superintendent in the state.

The Pulaski County Special School District spent more on superintendents – almost $350,000 – but that included the compensation for Superintendent Jerry Guess ($260,683 and No. 4 on the list) and for Bobby Lester Jr., who was designated as a superintendent when he worked on carving the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District out of PCSSD. Lester’s compensation, including salary and benefits, was $85,702.

Lester is not included in the list because the Jacksonville district did not exist as a stand-alone district until the fall 2016 semester started last month. (For more on the new district, see Q&A with its permanent superintendent, Tony Wood.)

Rollins and Guess helmed their districts in 2014-15, the most recent year for which complete superintendent salary research is available from the Arkansas Department of Education, and still do. But because salary research for the 2015-16 school year is not yet available, some of the salaries on this week’s list were paid to a district’s previous superintendent.

The list of 242 top administrators, including some who head public charter schools, is matched with their districts as of the end of the 2015-16 academic year. That includes Mike Poore, who joined the Little Rock School District in June. But the salary listed, $260,638, is what the LRSD spent on superintendent salary and benefits in 2014-15, and that would have gone to Dexter Suggs, who resigned in April 2015 amid a plagiarism scandal.

More: Get the complete list of Arkansas’ highest paid superintendents.

In between Suggs and Poore, Baker Kurrus led the LRSD during the 2015-16 school year. Poore, meanwhile, was superintendent of the Bentonville School District in 2014-15. The salary listed for that district was $257,069 — No. 7 on the list, although the name on the list is Deborah Bruick-Jones, the deputy superintendent who has been promoted.

In the vast majority of cases, however, the superintendent listed earned the total compensation listed, and most compensation totals are likely to be similar when 2015-16 salary research is released by the ADE in October.

Each district’s enrollment for the 2015-16 academic year is also listed.

(Corrections, Sept. 7, 2016: The original version of this story incorrectly reported Jerry Guess’s compensation at Pulaski County Special School District as the combined total paid to him and to Bobby Lester since the combined total was attributed to the PCSSD by the Arkansas Department of Education. Guess was therefore incorrectly identified as the highest paid superintendent in the state.)

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