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Taxpayers paying $1.3 million

By Trina Trice

Although facing budget cuts, the Clayton County school system has some of the highest paid school administrators in the state, according to just-obtained figures.

To administer the schools, taxpayers are paying $1.3 million for the top administrators, and this doesn't include the salary of the new superintendent, which is expected to easily exceed $100,000. It also doesn't include other administrators below the assistant superintendent rank.

The average annual salary of school administrators during the 2001-2002 school year was $83,348, according to the Georgia Public Education Report Card generated by the state Department of Education.

More than $14 million went to pay school administrators' salaries and benefits across the state, the report states.

According to documents acquired by the News Daily, all but two of the 10 assistant superintendents earn more than $100,000.

The current assistant superintendents, their respective departments, and their annual salaries are as follows: Ronnie Blake, Transportation, $114,518.64; Lynda Daniel, Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, $104,791.92; Jackie Hubbert, Area 1, $104,791.92; Luvenia Jackson, Student Services, $98,790.24; Judy Johnston, Secondary Curriculum and Instruction, $90,405.48; Samuel King, Support Services and Continuous Improvements, $101,745.72; Walt Pierce, Area II, $117,954.24; John Ramage, Facilities/Construction, $114,518.64; Ed Scott, Personnel, $117,954.24; and Linda Tanner, Area III, $107,943.60.

Deputy Superintendent Bill Horton receives $107,943.60, annually.

The Clayton County Board of Education raised interim Superintendent Dr. William Chavis' annual salary from $93,104.88 to $118,000 at its Feb. 20 meeting to reflect his new post. Prior to his appointment, Chavis was an administrative assistant at the Evening School.

The county's school system spends more on its administrative salaries than Atlanta City Public Schools, which has a larger student population and budget.

For the 2001-2002 school year, the average annual salary for Atlanta City school administrators was $76,230.06, that's 9.3 percent less than what the Clayton County school district spent on its average administrative salaries.

Clayton County has 50,000 students and an annual budget of $303 million.

Atlanta City Public Schools, with 58,230 students and a budget of $531.9 million, employs one superintendent and two deputy superintendents.

The Augusta-based Richmond County school system has more than 34,000 students and a budget of $218 million.

Although the Richmond County school system has more than 50 schools like Clayton County, it does not divide its district into areas. Richmond County schools employ a superintendent and four assistant superintendents, one of which pulls double duty as the deputy superintendent.

The Richmond school system has more than 25 department heads that serve under the title of director. Clayton County schools also employs directors that head departments such as Maintenance, Transportation, and Technology.

Top Clayton County school officials could not be reached for comment.

Board member Dr. Bob Livingston, who served as superintendent from 1991 to 1995, said when he held the post he had a deputy superintendent and two assistant superintendents.

The school board could vote soon to approve a contract with a firm to audit school district's records and contracts from the last five years, according to Nedra Ware, board chairwoman. The board could also use CH2M Hill, a consulting firm, to assist with its superintendent search and perform an audit of the district's operational procedures and policies.

Ousted Superintendent Dan Colwell earned $140,000 a year, but the salary for his successor has not been set.

The next scheduled board meeting is April 17 at 7 p.m. at 1058 Fifth Ave. in Jonesboro.