Yesterday, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released updated figures on superintendent salaries-and the data is quite revealing.

Of the 10 highest paid superintendents in the state for 2010-11-whose yearly salaries range from between $283,412 to $347,834-seven received an annual increase of between $1,000 to $47,800. Only three district superintendents-those in Fort Worth ISD, Houston ISD, and Austin ISD-received no such increase in their base pay; however, it should be noted that TEA’s data does not account for bonuses paid to administrators, annuities, or increases elsewhere. Of the superintendents listed below, none saw their base salary decline.

Taking this one step further, we thought it might be interesting to look at how these administrators’ base salaries had performed since the beginning of the Great Recession. Again, using TEA’s Superintendent Salary Reports, the data shows that from October 2007 to October 2010, eight of these 10 superintendents realized base pay increases ranging from $5,232 to $89,400. Two district superintendents-in Houston ISD and Austin ISD-were not were not in their current positions over that period. Again, no superintendents saw their base salary decline and many likely received compensation above their base salary.

With a near daily deluge of news stories detailing struggling school districts and education funding woes, salary data such as this raises a number of questions, perhaps none more important than this: Are taxpayers best served by supporting this level of administrative pay and annual increases or would some of these resources be better directed at the classroom, helping to educate children and rewarding our best-performing teachers?

-James Quintero