Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
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December 11, 2012
District’s top earners saw pay rise in 2012

Pay is rising for the top administrators in the Tooele County School District.

In 2012, the top 10 administrators in the district collected 2.3 percent more in wages than the top 10 did in 2010, according to data provided by the district. Only five of the top 10 for the school year ending June 2010 were in the same position two years later.

Dan Johnson, who was the district’ secondary education director, turned down an offer to become an assistant superintendent to work for Utah State University in Logan. Richard Reese, who was the district’s business administrator, left to work as the business administrator for the Murray School District. And Jeff Hamm, who was the district’s elementary education director, left the district office to become the principal of Grantsville Elementary School.

Kent Parsons, who made the top 10 list in 2010 as the principal of Anna Smith Elementary in Wendover, is now the assistant principal at Tooele Junior High School. Doelene Pitt, who was the district’s special education director in 2010, is now an assistant superintendent.

The administrators that were on the 2010 list and hold the same job title in 2012 include superintendent Terry Linares, assistant superintendent Ken Luke, and principals Kendall Topham, Travis McCluskey and Bill Gochis.

McCluskey’s salary has grown by 3.2 percent in two years while Gochis’ salary is up 2.7 percent. Luke’s salary climbed 1.4 percent, and Topham’s salary increased by 1.2 percent.

The Tooele County School Board gave Linares a raise for the 2012-13 school year that bumped her salary up to $128,500.

Collectively, the top 10 district administrators and top 10 principals were paid a total of $1.79 million in wages in 2012, which was 3.5 percent of the district’s total expense for salaries. Those salary figures reflect total gross compensation but do not include benefits.

The top paid district official is Linares, who received $114,295 in wages during the 2011-12 school year.

Kent Parsons, who was the Wendover High School principal during 2011-12, collected $101,722 in wages to land the No. 2 spot on the district’s top salaries list. Parsons’ salary included a boost from a federal school improvement grant that added to his regular pay to push him past the district’s business administrator, Bruce Williams, and assistant superintendents Ken Luke and Doelene Pitt.

Other district high school principals are paid roughly equivalent salaries, but on a per student basis there are large discrepancies. Based on October 2011 enrollment data, Topham at SHS and Gochis at THS were paid $62 per student. McCluskey got twice that, $123 per student, while Parsons was paid $524 per student.The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics lists the average salary of a chief executive officer for a public school system in Utah as $138,730 and the average salary for a secondary or elementary school administrator in Utah as $90,360.

A 2010 survey of high school principals conducted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals put the average salary of a high school principal in the Rocky Mountain region, which includes Utah, at $84,501.

The Utah Taxpayers Association publishes an annual school spending report that lists expenditures by category for Utah’s 41 school districts. The report says Tooele County School District spends $512 per student on district and school administration.

Alpine School District, at $465 per student, and Cache County School District, at $487, are the only districts that spend less per student than Tooele County School District on administration expenses per student, according to UTPA.

Provo School District, which has just under 100 fewer students than Tooele County School District, spends $765 per student on administration.

District and school administrators work a 258-day contract, according to Linares.

“Our administrators work hard and put in a lot of hours,” said Linares.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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