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Pricey Perks For North Texas Superintendents

UPDATED: March 24, 2018  4:30PM

Grand Prairie ISD is expected to release their investigation findings.

Click here to read about new questions about the investigation into Grand Prairie ISD spending.

Consumer Justice also looked into the size and spending of Grand Prairie's leadership team. Click here to read about the millions of dollars spent on school district leadership teams.

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Superintendent salaries in North Texas are some of the highest in the state -- and that's not including the perks for cars, phones and housing added to contracts.

Consumer Justice pored over contracts for superintendents in dozens of North Texas school districts and found tens of thousands of dollars in additional bonuses and allowances.

Susan Hull pay
Susan Hull pay

Grand Prairie ISD will pay Dr. Susan Hull at least an additional $75,000 this year, on top of her $390,795 salary. That includes:

--$1,000 monthly housing allowance
--$1,000 monthly automobile allowance
--Reimbursement of Hull's contribution to her state pension plan
--District contribution to a private retirement policy
--District contribution to a disability policy
--$50,000 district investment as a "retention supplement"

Hull lives in a home owned by the district.

In 2016 GPISD paid $694,000 for the property off South Carrier Parkway. The long private driveway leads to a four-bedroom home, with a barn and a pool. Her rent is $2,000 per month, half of which is paid for by the housing allowance.

The district covers the cost of all "routine maintenance" and recently paid for roughly $80,000 in renovations at the home. The district says it plans to use the property as part of the expansion of the nearby Garner Fine Arts Academy at some point in the future.

Susan Hull's former house
Grand Prairie ISD Superintendent Susan Hull's former house (CBS11)

In a statement GPISD's school board president said, "Dr. Hull is worth every penny we pay her and more." Terry Brooks pointed to her tenure of 11 years and student success overall. You can read his full statement at the end of this article.

While Grand Prairie pays thousands in extra perks, the district is far from alone. Many contracts include high-priced allowances, stipends or expense accounts that are not included in the bottom line.

A $16,000 cost of living compensation for Garland's superintendent.

16k for garland

A $1.2 million interest-free loan for Highland Parks's superintendent.

highland park loan

A $23,183 salary stipend for Lake Dallas's superintendent.

lake dallas salary stipend

Close to three dozen districts give allowances for cell phones or laptops. Of those, most superintendents receive $100 per month. The highest is Prosper ISD, which gives $300 per month.

At least 35 local districts pay their superintendents a car allowance. The smallest is Keene ISD, at $100 per month. Burleson ISD's superintendent gets the most, at $1,694.57 per month.

pie chart

At least ten districts offer longevity or retention bonuses. Burleson ISD pays Dr. Bret Jimerson a $2,000 monthly "continued employment incentive" while Birdville ISD will give Dr. Darrell Brown an extra $50,000 in longevity pay if he is still superintendent in June 2020. Grand Prairie ISD will give Dr. Hull $150,000 for her retention supplement in June 2019.

And sometimes districts shell out extra dollars for nothing in particular.

--Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD's Dr. Jim Chadwell gets a "monthly allowance" of $1,890.32.
--Mansfield ISD pays Dr. Jim Vaszauskas $833.33 per month for "business expenses."
--Northwest ISD pays Dr. Ryder Warren $647.72 per month for "incidental employee benefits."

bar graph on superintendent salaries

The numbers are stunning to Ross Kecseg.

"I think people would be absolutely astonished - and I think teachers would be surprised!" Kecseg is part of Empower Texans, a conservative non-profit that promotes fiscal responsibility and limited government. "I think that most people assume [superintendents] are paying for their own housing, they're paying for their own car, they're paying for their phone." He says it's on school districts to make it clear just how much taxpayer money is involved. "I think they should have to disclose - in a very transparent way - what is the total amount of money you're paying an administrator." Kecseg says by not including the perks in superintendents' salaries, districts are hiding what they are really paying leaders.

Alton Frailey calls it "the cost of attracting talent."

Frailey, a longtime administrator, also previously served as president of the Texas Association of School Administrators and the American Association of School Administrators. Now an interim superintendent at Nacogdoches ISD, Frailey says many times the district's location dictates the perks. "Many communities get a reputation for being a great place to live, so it may cost you less to attract the talent," said Frailey. "Others are very challenging to work in, and it will cost you more to have someone even take a look at it."

State law requires school districts to post their superintendent contracts online, but they're not always easy to find.

That's why Consumer Justice compiled the following list.

Email if you can't find your district below.

Aledo | Allen | Alvarado | Alvord | AnnaArgyle | Arlington | Aubrey | Azle | Birdville | Boyd | Bridgeport | Brock | Burleson | CantonCarrollton-Farmers Branch | Castleberry | Cedar Hill | Celina | Cleburne | Collinsville ISDCommunity | Coppell | Crowley | Dallas | Decatur | Denton | DeSoto | Duncanville | Eagle Mountain-Saginaw | Ennis | Everman | Farmersville | Fort Worth | Frisco | Garland | Garner | Georgetown | | Godley | Granbury | Grand Prairie | Grand SalineGrandview | Grapevine-ColleyvilleGreenvilleH-E-B | Highland Park | IrvingJoshuaKeene | Keller | Kennedale | Krum | Lake Dallas | Lake Worth | Lancaster | Lewisville | Lipan | Little ElmLovejoyMansfield | Melissa | McKinney | Mesquite | MidlothianMillsap | Mineral Wells | Northwest | Paradise | Peaster | Pilot Point | Plano | PonderPrinceton | Prosper | Red OakRichardson | Rio Vista | Rockwall | Royse City | Sanger | Southlake-Carroll | Springtown | Terrell CountyUplift Education | Venus | Waxahachie | Weatherford (Original & Amended) | White Settlement | Wylie

CBS11 is still waiting on the information from Canton, Midlothian and Terrell ISD on their superintendent's contracts.

Statement from GPISD Board President Terry Brooks:

"Grand Prairie ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Hull is one of the most successful, effective and experienced superintendents in Texas. She has led GPISD for 11 years with great vision and focus on improving student achievement, and has been named Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators. Many school districts in Texas and across the nation have had multiple superintendents over the past 11 years, and they've had to deal with the uncertainty, the loss of academic and organizational momentum, the anxiety and turmoil in the community, and the inconsistency that can happen when school districts frequently change leaders.

But at GPISD, Dr. Hull has provided strong, caring, consistent and expert leadership for more than a decade. Her deep understanding of every facet of the organization, our opportunities and challenges and how to create more and better learning opportunities for students is an irreplaceable asset to our more than 30,000 students in 43 schools. Her focus on students has helped our schools continue to meet and exceed the academic standards set by the state of Texas and expected by our community. GPISD voters in 2015 signaled their strong support of our direction and focus when they approved a bond issue and tax ratification initiative.

In short, Grand Prairie ISD has what many school districts across Texas and America have sought: long-term, highly effective, consistent and dedicated leadership from the superintendent. Dr. Hull is worth every penny we pay her and more. We are proud to have her as our superintendent."


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