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Schools superintendent's pay increases to $200,000

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 05:20 p.m. HST, Jun 17, 2014

The salary for public schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi is going up by more than 30 percent to $200,000 -- her first pay increase since taking office in 2010, and the first time in 14 years the salary for the Education Department's top position has been increased.

The pay raise was made possible with Gov. Neil Abercrombie's signing this week of House Bill 2257, now Act 90, which raises the maximum potential salary for the superintendent to $250,000 from $150,000.

The previous $150,000 statutory cap -- set by lawmakers in 2001 -- has kept Matayoshi's salary at that level since her hiring, while a few school principals earn more than she does.

The Board of Education earlier this month extended Matayoshi's contract, which expires June 30, for another three years, but did not determine her pay because of the pending legislation.

The board voted on the new salary in executive session Tuesday afternoon.

A BOE review of other public school superintendent salaries, which was shared with lawmakers in support of HB 2257, said if the $150,000 rate had kept up with inflation since 2000, the superintendent's salary would be at $199,995 today.

"I appreciate the confidence of the board and will work very hard to fill their very high expectations of the job, which is all about the students," Matayoshi said after the decision.

The newly enacted law stipulates the superintendent "shall be subject to an annual performance evaluation that is in alignment with other employee evaluations within the Department of Education and are based on outcomes determined by the Board of Education."

It also says that "nothing shall prohibit the board from conditioning a portion of the salary on performance," essentially meaning the board may offer at-risk bonuses in addition to base pay.

BOE Chairman Don Horner said in a statement afterward that the decision to increase the superintendent's pay in part "reflects the solid performance over the last three years in student achievement, significant improvements in fiscal management and accountability as well as the reorganization of the department in alignment with our strategic plan."

Hawaii, the ninth-largest district with more than 180,000 students, has one of the lowest superintendent salaries in the country with its $150,000 cap, according to a BOE review of the nation's 15 largest public school districts.

The next lowest-paying district is Palm Beach County, Fla., which pays its superintendent $225,000 and ranks as the 12th-largest district, according to the report.

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enoughisenough wrote:
I supported the appointed board. Now I'm not so sure. Shame on them for extending her contract and giving her a raise when she hasn't even addressed the worse of the problems revealed by the survey of school principals. I know Horner got her the job and so his blind support is not a surprise. But where were the other eight board members on this? Or is it a one-man show these days.
on June 17,2014 | 05:27PM
palolo2001 wrote:
Wow, her pay raise is more money then I make a year. I wish Horner was my friend too.
on June 17,2014 | 10:26PM
HD36 wrote:
More arrogance is the fact that real hourly earnings of production workers at about $20.50 per hour in May were exactly the same as they were when President Lyndon Johnson was hauling his hunting dogs around by their ears in 1968.
on June 18,2014 | 06:51AM
Nire wrote:
What a joke!
on June 17,2014 | 05:29PM
Steve96785 wrote:
Great news! Next they will raise the pay for all teachers by 33%, right? I have never seen Matayoshi at any major school function unless she is trolling for publicity. Has the department, following four years of her tenure made leaps and bounds or stumbled blindly on an uncharted path? Our math scores are down to 22% on the HSA, even lower than they were in 2010!
on June 17,2014 | 05:30PM
atilter wrote:
and so the the upward pressure in pay structures continues resulting in all the dep sups and complex sups getting raises disregarding the pleas of the principals (eo) (and teachers) proposed as a result of the survey. what happened to the rttt money? the students in classrooms aren't smelling anything! if the principals get paid more than the supt then that is as it should be - the eo's are in the trenches doing, not pontificating from on high! the classroom is where the actual work is done - not in the upper admin of the doe!!!
on June 17,2014 | 11:10PM
KimoSabey wrote:
With the fear of reprisals the principals and teachers are quiet. Then a few came forward and say how fearful they are and the process and how she is incompetent. The administration and Horner are in lock step so like any of the shielding panels he is not directly responsible but his people are in control. He appointed them and they continue to keep in the wrong person then he gives her a $100,000 raise. So stupid.
on June 17,2014 | 06:28PM
636merf wrote:
Wow!!! I guess that this will lead to better schools for our keiki. We are so lucky. Anytime you guys want to "START WORKING" just go ahead. No wait for us. OK? WHAT A JOKE IS RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!
on June 17,2014 | 06:45PM
Wazdat wrote:
This city and state is run by INCOMPETENT M O R O N S
on June 17,2014 | 07:34PM
false wrote:
But the are all going to get re-elected.
on June 17,2014 | 09:23PM
lwandcah wrote:
Why and for what? What is this based on? Has the board concluded that because of the increase scores in testing, graduation rates, and students going on to higher education that an raise is in order? Or have we in fact either maintained status quo or even worse, dropped in some areas?
on June 17,2014 | 07:37PM
admiral wrote:
As the article points out, and as should be obvious considering that this is a unique state-wide position, the Hawai`i Public Schools Superintendent is among the lowest paid school superintendents with comparable responsibility anywhere in the U.S. You may or may not like Kathryn Matayoshi, that's your business--but her salary as Superintendent, even with the new raise, is still less than it should be. The same goes for virtually everyone who works in Hawaii public education, from elementary school to university. All the comparative national statistics demonstrate the same thing: Hawaii continually shows its lack of respect for public education by perpetually short-changing the people it hires.
on June 17,2014 | 07:53PM
atilter wrote:
bs - the pay scale should be commensurate with the work actually produced, not by the title or position. the teachers have to be rated - the superintendent should be also, by the same measures and by the same people...not by the clan of hacks appointed by the Gov.
on June 18,2014 | 01:12AM
nblomberg wrote:
the outrage is laughable. if you don't like matayoshi, ok. but her salary is not the issue. I am so angry because our superintendent is still the lowest paid big population superintendent in the united states. why can't we find a solid superintendent, when we offer the worst salary? nothing will change, because we cant find great leadership at the lowest comparable salary in the united states. why cant i find a great babysitter at 2 dollars an hour? why wont someone fix my car correctly for 45 dollars?
on June 17,2014 | 08:05PM
waianae94 wrote:
Fine, then. Raise the Super's salary, but dump Matayoshi and find someone else!
on June 17,2014 | 11:19PM
taradean wrote:
Another step in the wrong direction. Failing public schools a root cause for much that is wrong within this State. Reward for incompetence an ongoing trend. Sad and embarrassed.
on June 17,2014 | 08:08PM
safari wrote:
Similar to HECO?
on June 17,2014 | 08:18PM
bumba wrote:
$50G raise. Are you F'n kidding me?
on June 17,2014 | 08:21PM
Skyler wrote:
Hey, that's my line! And I agree with you. To the 2 up there ^ who think the 'position' deserves that kind of money - I'd like to say. "WHY?"
on June 17,2014 | 10:59PM
Imagen wrote:
Okay, maybe the position "commands" the salary but certainly NOT the individual currently in it.
on June 18,2014 | 04:08PM
bumba wrote:
Everyone's balking at raising the minimum wage to $10.50 and this lady gets $50G. Why not. Bend over Honolulu, you should be used to it for now.
on June 17,2014 | 08:25PM
makiki123 wrote:
Incompetence gets rewarded again in a state job. That's how our state runs.
on June 17,2014 | 08:56PM
IkaikaClothingofHNL wrote:
The Principals of Hawai`i voiced their frustration and disarray about their superior and the response from the State is a pay raise to that very person. Teachers and Administrators don't allow cussing in their classroom and their campus but they were just told the F-word to their face! Union representation will be???
on June 17,2014 | 09:03PM
mauiday wrote:
I looked up what the Governor makes, $117,312. The chief justice makes $181,476. The mayor of Honolulu makes $153,239. With the population of Oahu being 953,207. Doesn't seem to make sense to me that the Superintendent of Education should make more that the Governor, Mayor and Chief justice. Especially for an educational system that is not one of the top in the nation. I would favor a base pay of $150,000 with bonus pay based on performance of the DOE as a whole. So if the students from Hawaii do well in national testing, then give the superintendent a bonus.
on June 17,2014 | 09:26PM
Imagen wrote:
You're making much too much sense...
on June 18,2014 | 04:09PM
mikaele1 wrote:
This a very important position and should have sufficient pay to attract the best of the best. Matayoshi's been doing an outstanding job trying to work with her hands tied by the HSTA and political wrangling. Give her a chance to make a difference and when she gets replaced at least the salary will be at a semi attractive level for the next one.
on June 17,2014 | 09:35PM
mauiday wrote:
With this logic that you need top pay to "attach the best of the best", does this translate that only the mediocre and less talented would apply for Hawaii's governor's job that pays only $117, 312??? Far less than the Superintendents old pay.
on June 17,2014 | 11:10PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
All right, that's enough, Kathryn. Get to bed so you can earn that money tomorrow.
on June 18,2014 | 12:01AM
HD36 wrote:
Imagine if Ron Paul got elected president in 2012. He was only going to take a salary of $39,900 because it was the average salary of the citizens. His only goal was to bring liberty and freedom, and sound money back into America.
on June 17,2014 | 09:52PM
HD36 wrote:
Now it's her turn to convince everyone in the union to vote for Neil.
on June 17,2014 | 09:55PM
blackmurano wrote:
The Rich and big spending Democratic party of Hawaii that controls the State and City Government since Statehood (1959) have never change. They award the big wheels with ridiculous pay raise while the peons suffer. To pay for their raise, you will some kind of tax increase coming. Maybe not this year, but when ever the legislature opens each year run by Democrats, they will seek ways to pay for any shortfall. I never voted to for Democrats so at least I am doing my part. Others complain about the high cost of living but still vote the same people in. This November 2014 general election I hope the tax burden people in this State will vote these rascals out of office.
on June 17,2014 | 10:08PM
Glassy_eye wrote:
Does anybody even remember the argument the people who advocated for an appointed, rather than an elected board of education. They said the Governor would finally be accountable for public education in Hawaii. The sad reality is the Abercrombie has washed his hands of the DOE and leaves everything to Don Horner, his appointed BOE chairman. Horner no longer holds full annual BOE meetings on every island and has moved the meeting time to 1:30 pm when everybody is a work. He has limited public testimony to 120 seconds per speaker. Under this administration the DOE has become a dictatorship where no principal, no teacher, and no parent or member of the public can object to their unworkable "strategic plans" without fear of reprisal. So sad.
on June 17,2014 | 10:33PM
kaiakea wrote:
A pay raise for this bureaucrat? Are you kidding? Just wait until the SPED class action lawsuit hits the front pages. The worst damage has been done under this so called superintendent. I hope she gets called front and center in the federal courtroom and is asked to explain how the civil rights of our most needy children got trampled on her watch.
on June 17,2014 | 10:52PM
Junkflyer wrote:
Keep voting Democrat and you will get more of the same.
on June 17,2014 | 11:10PM
Just because everyone else is stupid, does not mean you guys should be- now that she makes $200,00 WITH ALL THE COMPLAINTS, does that mean the top heavy DOE SUPERVISORS get big raises, too? Shame!
on June 17,2014 | 11:31PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
lol. LOL! I would never, EVER send my kids to public school in Hawaii. And that is sad. This superintendent has done nothing yet to change my mind.
on June 18,2014 | 12:03AM
Imagen wrote:
Unfortunately, ONLY the BOE seems to feel she's performing satisfactorily. SMH!
on June 18,2014 | 04:06PM
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