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Changes to superintendent compensation

A new compensation framework for school superintendents will put about $1.5 million back into classrooms.

The changes, now in effect, ensure superintendent compensation aligns with executive pay in Alberta’s other public sector agencies, boards and commissions. Post-secondary institutions also recently introduced changes to compensation of presidents at universities and colleges.

“Introducing this compensation framework ensures Albertans’ expectations of fair and reasonable compensation for education leaders will be met. Clear limits for superintendent pay will help ensure public funds continue to be put where they can do the most good for Alberta’s students, while ensuring boards can continue to recruit top leaders.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

The compensation framework will apply to the 74 people who lead Alberta’s public, separate, Francophone and charter school authorities. Superintendent compensation rules will be separated into five levels based on roles and responsibilities of the different organizations they lead, with different salary ranges in place for each of the levels. It is expected that the changes will reduce overall compensation for superintendents by an average of 10 per cent across Alberta.

Other compensation rules introduced include limiting the kinds of allowances available to superintendents, ensuring severance pay remains reasonable and putting limits on reimbursement of other expenses.

The changes still allows significant school board autonomy and brings Alberta into line with other provinces such as British Columbia and Ontario.

The new rules follow a review of existing superintendent compensation practices in the province, which varied widely between different school boards. Some findings of the review:

  • 17 contracts featured retirement allowances or severance pay agreements that included up to one year’s full salary.
  • Median female superintendent pay was about 2.5 per cent less than median male superintendent pay, but their pay was very similar when the composition of the school authorities was taken into account.
  • Several outlier provisions were noted in some contracts, none of which will be allowed under the new rules:
    • $1,200/year payment for a gym membership
    • $10,000/year for a superintendent’s children’s post-secondary education
    • $1,200/year to pay for the spouse of a superintendent to attend school board events
    • $25,000/year “executive compensation” fund that could be taken as cash, RRSP, or Health Spending Account
    • $10,000/year for “incidental” costs with no further details

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