March 31, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Dodge City: Big pay hikes for administrators, achievement down

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USD 443 Dodge City says average teacher salaries increased 1.6% in the 2019-20 school year to $59,977, but some district administrators received increases more than ten times as much.  Student achievement, meanwhile, dropped a little over the years and is much lower than parents are led to believe in Kansas.

Superintendent Frederick Dierksen’s pay of $172,345 increased by 9%. The second-highest-paid employee, principal Jacquelyn Feist, got a 3.8% increase to $130,349.

Administrators receiving double-digit increases include Scott Springston (14.4% to $129,929), Gregory Preston (11.2% to $114,428), Michael Lampe (19.2% to 113,929), Michael Martinez (11.2% to 113,929), Martha Mendoza (10.4% to $111,979), Pamela Algrim (13.5% to $111,944), Jay Gifford (12.4% to $111,329), Cherry Deges (10.9% to $110,979), Shawn Steiner (15.4% to $110,329), Jason Scheck (15.8% to $109,329) and Rachael Pitchford (11.1% to $107,329).

Many other administrators received increases between 5% and 10%, many times more than the average teacher.

The complete $46.4 million payroll listing is at

Student achievement much lower than parents told

The windfall from court-ordered and legislator-approved funding increase is pushing administrators’ pay higher, but student achievement declined over the last few years, and it’s lower than many parents may realize.

According to the 2015 state assessment, 19% of students tested (Grades 3-8 and 10) were on track for college and career in Math and 24% were on track in English Language Arts.  But the most recent assessment from 2019 shows the Math percentage improved a bit to 22% but English Language Arts feel to 20%.  The percentage of students below grade level in ELA jumped from 32% in 2015 to 47% in 2019.

Results for 10th-graders are even lower.

The 2019 state assessment results from the Kansas Department of Education shows 57% of 10th-graders in Dodge City are below grade level in Math; 30% are considered to be at grade level but still need remedial training to be on track for college and career, and only 13% are on track.

Results for English Language Arts – labeled here as Reading – are about the same, with 56% below grade level.  33% are at grade level but they still need remedial training and just 11% are on track for college and career.

State average results are also much lower than parents and employers are led to believe by school districts.

41% of students are below grade level in Math, and 34% are below grade level in Reading.  Only about a quarter of the state’s 10th-graders are on track for college and career

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