Bill Targets School Superintendent Salary Cap
Lawmakers will decide Wednesday whether to raise the salary cap for the state’s superintendent of schools.
House Bill 2257 would raise the cap to $250,000 from the $150,000 level, which was set 13 years ago.
A conference committee on Monday approved the final draft of the bill – one of four measures held over for special consideration after Friday’s conference committee deadline.
House and Senate conferees on Monday also mandated an annual evaluation of the superintendent which could be used by the state Board of Education to tie a portion of the salary to performance goals.
The state Board of Education submitted testimony in strong support of raising the cap.
Brian De Lima, the board’s vice-president and Big Island member, told Big Island Now the move is designed to bring Hawaii more in line with comparable school districts.
He said a study of the nation’s 15 largest school districts (see below) showed Hawaii ranks ninth in size but is at the bottom when it comes to superintendent’s pay.
The second-lowest pay rate was $225,000 was at the Palm Beach County School District in Florida, which ranked 12th in size.
Bill supporters noted that at least two principals in Hawaii already earn more than the current superintendent, Kathryn Matayoshi.
According to the Department of Education, the current annual salary for principals ranges from $85,682 to $155,782.
And that was before a recent arbitration award giving principals a 4.5% annual across-the-board pay raises for four years retroactive to July 1, 2013.
The raises also apply to other educational officers such as state and district educational specialists, athletic directors, office directors and others.
De Lima said the salary cap change is not aimed specifically at Matayoshi, but at future candidates.
He said the Board has no plans to raise Mataoyoshi’s salary to the maximum, even if she decides to stay beyond her current contract period which ends June 30.
De Lima said the Board is looking at the transition to the next superintendent.
“If we didn’t raise the cap it would really handcuff us in our ability to attract quality candidates,” he said.
A vote on the bill by the full Legislature is scheduled by Thursday’s adjournment.