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Schools superintendent’s pay increases to $200,000

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    Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi at Kaimuki High School in March.

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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