JCPS Acting Superintendent can expect significant pay raise

Marty Pollio

JCPS Acting Superintendent Marty Pollio can expect a significant pay raise once he and the school board finalize contract negotiations that, officially, will make him the district’s next superintendent.

The Jefferson County Board of Education said Sunday that Pollio would succeed Donna Hargens, who resigned last July.

Hargens had earned a salary of $276,000 a year, while Pollio earns a daily rate equivalent to $185,000 per year.

The president of the board, Diane Porter, told Insider Monday evening that contract negotiations with Pollio had not yet begun, but that the board has until April 1 to complete the deal.

Porter said that while many factors affect the compensation conversation, Pollio’s current pay is based on his being the “acting superintendent,” which means that once he officially is elevated to a new position, his new salary probably would rise as well.

Diane Porter

Board policy does not specify a superintendent salary — or even a range — stating the board should determine compensation while considering the district’s “financial resources, current economic conditions, employee performance, and salary data for similar positions at relevant organizations within the region.”

According to Salary.com, the median salary in the U.S. for a school superintendent is $154,000. Some 90 percent of superintendents make less than $216,000. JCPS is among the 30 largest school districts in the nation. Superintendents of districts of that size routinely earn a base salary of more than $300,000.

Board policy also states that the superintendent should be given a contract that runs one to four years. State law prohibits the board from approving a contract of more than four years. Pollio’s term will begin July 1.

Pollio is leading the district at a time of significant uncertainty. A pending state audit could prompt state leaders to appoint a JCPS manager, whose authority would supersede that of Pollio and the locally elected school board.

State Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt is nearing the end of an extensive monthslong investigation into “significant deficiencies” at JCPS related to matters including physical restraining of students, student-on-student sexual assault, low academic achievement and black students receiving long-term suspensions with a disproportionate and greater frequency than nonblack students. The audit hastened Hargens’ departure.

Porter said that despite the uncertainties, the school district’s work — to educate kids, to prepare for the arrival of charter schools, to address infrastructure needs — would continue regardless of the pending audit.

“As it pertains to academic success … I don’t think we can ever afford to put that on hold,” she said.

Pollio has energized the district, has shown that he cares about staff, students and families and “has proved to us that he can do the job,” Porter said.

“We are excited that he is our superintendent,” she said.