Carroll Superintendent David Faltys reads to students at Johnson Elementary School. Carroll ISD Courtesy
Carroll Superintendent David Faltys reads to students at Johnson Elementary School. Carroll ISD Courtesy

Education

Which Tarrant County superintendent makes the biggest salary?

December 01, 2017 01:46 PM

Southlake Carroll’s David Faltys — Tarrant County’s highest paid school superintendent — earns a base salary of $338,488.82, which is more than twice the state average.

The average base pay of Texas school superintendents for this school year is $146,073, according to a statewide survey of 749 school districts recently released by the Texas Association of School Boards and Texas Association of School Administrators.

“He’s been on the job since 2006, making him one of the longest-tenured, and trustees have been pleased with his performance,” said Julie Thannum, assistant superintendent for board and community relations for Carroll schools.

Thannum said search firms have contacted Faltys several times over those 11 years and Carroll board members have boosted his salary to encourage him to stay in Southlake.

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The state average reflects an increase in base salaries, which rose 2.8 percent this year and 1.9 percent last year, according to the report. Half of reported superintendent salaries in Texas are less than $125,000, the survey states.

Superintendents in Texas’ largest school districts — those with more than 50,000 students — have an average base pay of $320,532, according to the survey. That average is up from $308,184.

Superintendent Kent Scribner makes a base pay of $330,000 at the helm of a district with more than 86,000 students. The Fort Worth school district has 10,955 employees, according to its annual report. In December 2016, Fort Worth school trustees approved a five-year contract for Scribner. He is up for his yearly evaluation next week.

“I really appreciate the board’s confidence in me and their service to our students,” Scribner told the Star-Telegram last December. “We are very eager to get to work and continue improving this district.”

Marcelo Cavazos, superintendent of Arlington schools, recently received a 2.25 percent salary increase as part of his contract extension. His salary is $296,086.98. There are about 62,000 students in Arlington schools.

At Southlake Carroll, which has more than 8,000 students, educators said there are several reasons why Faltys is paid more than any other Tarrant County superintendent.

Thannum said one reason is the cost of living in Southlake. The average market home value, according to the Tarrant Appraisal District, is just over $700,000.

“There is a different demographic here and what it costs to live here,” Thannum said. “This is a CEO community with many residents running their own companies with fewer employees than he has.”

Several years ago, Carroll trustees looked at purchasing a house for the superintendent but decided against it. Instead, they opted to roll a housing allowance into his base salary, which bumped it up significantly, she said.

The survey is among a series of three reports that look at school district compensation and benefits in Texas. Policymakers use the information to make decisions about educator pay, according to TASB. Here are some highlights by the numbers:

  • $96,119: average superintendent salary for districts with fewer than 500 students
  • $101, 227: average superintendent salary in rural districts
  • 459: the number of Texas school district classified as rural
  • $314,366: average superintendent salary in major urban districts
  • 4: the average number of years superintendents have held their current positions

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Diane A. Smith: 817-390-7675, @dianeasmith1

Sandra J. Engelland: 817-390-7323, @SandraEngelland

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