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Atlanta schools top peers – by far – in $100K+ salaries


Nearly 1,000 employees in five local school districts earned $100,000 or more in 2008-09, with the heaviest concentration by far in Atlanta Public Schools, an analysis of state salary data shows.

Administrative salaries face the knife across metro Atlanta this year as districts try to tighten budgets without harming classroom instruction. DeKalb County Superintendent Crawford Lewis plans to unveil a 2011 budget this week with cuts in central office positions and pay. Other metro school districts contemplate similar measures.

DeKalb paid more $100,000+ salaries — 223 — than any other Georgia school district last year, the State Auditor’s online salary database shows. DeKalb was followed by Fulton County schools (219), Gwinnett County (214), Atlanta (181) and Cobb County (124).

For its size, though, Atlanta had many more salaries topping 100 grand than the others. Gwinnett has more than three times as many students as Atlanta, and Cobb and DeKalb have twice as many.

To compare districts, Atlanta Unfiltered calculated the ratio of $100,000+ salaries per 1,000 students for each metro school system. The result: Atlanta in 2009 had proportionally far more highly-paid staffers — mostly administrators — than any other.

Atlanta had 3.69 employees earning $100K or more per thousand students, the analysis shows. That was nearly three times as many as Gwinnett, which had 1.35 such jobs per thousand students. (The comparison excluded small municipal districts, such as Marietta and Decatur, with fewer than 10,000 students.)

With a $389,314 paycheck, Beverly Hall, Atlanta’s superintendent, ranked as the best-paid school employee in Georgia last year.

So who else was making the big bucks there? The auditor’s data shows Atlanta paid $100,000 or more to these positions:

  • 77 principals
  • 21 instructional supervisors
  • 11 assistant principals
  • 10 curriculum/instruction directors
  • 7 deputy or assistant superintendents
  • 6 lawyers
  • 6 finance/business services managers
  • 6 information service staffers
  • 5 teachers
  • 4 plant operations managers
  • 3 human resources managers
  • 3 psychologists
  • 3 staff development specialists
  • 3 technology directors
  • 2 security officers
  • 2 school improvement specialists
  • 1 athletics director
  • 1 director of child services
  • 1 federal programs director
  • 1 food service administrator
  • 1 nurse
  • 1 public relations staffer
  • 1 social services case manager
  • 1 social worker
  • 1 vocational director
  • 1 transportation manager
  • 1 transportation mechanic


Here’s how metro school districts compare:

  • Atlanta, 3.69 $100K+ salaries per 1,000 kids
  • Fulton County, 2.56
  • DeKalb County, 2.26
  • Fayette County, 1.94
  • Coweta County, 1.88
  • Forsyth County, 1.81
  • Rockdale County, 1.75
  • Clayton County, 1.62
  • Gwinnett County, 1.35
  • Cherokee County, 1.3
  • Henry County, 1.24
  • Paulding County, 1.19
  • Cobb County, 1.14
  • Douglas County, 1.09




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    5 Responses to “Atlanta schools top peers – by far – in $100K+ salaries”

    1. Eleanor says:

      Well the overhead and over abundance of administrators in the superintendent’s offices needs to be cut; both Hall and Lewis need to take a cut in pay and not just 2%; leave the teachers alone, they have suffered the most with no raises, larger classrooms, etc. Remove the perks that these superintendent’s get. And hold your School Boards feet to the fire. Enough is enough. The students are the ones paying the price and it is obvious Hall and Lewis does not have the best interests of the students and teachers at heart.

    2. Some Other Mike says:

      I see you’re starting to collect boilerplates. Good deal! 😉

      WRT the analysis…why not measure the districts on a top-10% (or some statistical milestone) basis, as you did the legislators? Something to the effect of “what does the top 10/25/33% buy each district?

    3. Eleanor says:

      Well the Governor just dumped on education so pretty soon people won’t need to worry about educating their children because it will soon require paying to send your child to school, on top of the taxes you already pay, and many families won’t have the resources to do so. If there are no dedicated teachers (and yes there are some who shouldn’t even be in a classroom teaching, but most are good dedicated teachers), then these Superintendent’s would be out of a job. And instead of their defending the good teachers, they defend the bad ones (i.e., test scores on the CRCT’s a couple of summers ago). Lewis defended Berry, one of the principals involved even when it was proven he did what he was accused of. Suspended him – he should have been fired and never allowed in a classroom again. And the nerve to demand and accept a $15,000 a year raise when teachers haven’t had a raise in two years and are being forced by our great Governor to take three more days without pay this school year and six next school year?

    4. Sue B says:

      As a retired APS employee,I know you speak the truth. You would be even more startled to hear how consultants and temp project managers are compensated. Apple Corps., a group that studies and evaluates school systems, has always maintained that APS was topheavy with administrators. Whole departments exist where there is only the overpaid administrator and his or her secretary. This administrator will often demand an assistant, who performs the real work, so the administrator can go to meetings. The children suffer from this lack of fiscal oversight and transparency. Board meetings may as well be held in a back room. Board policies are voted on by number or letter designations only and the apparent disinterest in comments from parents and other interested community attendees shows on the Board members faces. Watch the APS meetings, or better yet TRY to get a copy of the Board agenda. The federal government could take a lesson in downlow management from APS.

    5. Marilyn says:

      I can’t believe any school superintendent makes this kind of money…almost $400K a year…that is insane. I know Atlanta is a big system but that is utterly ridiculous when teacher’s are barely getting by unless they have several years of service with several degrees!