June 24, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Geary County: Big pay hikes for administrators, achievement low

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The $56.5 million payroll at USD 475 Geary County increased by less than 1% for the 2020 school year, but some district administrators received double-digit increases.  Student achievement, meanwhile, hasn’t changed much over the last five years and is much lower than parents are led to believe in Kansas.

The new superintendent, Reginald Eggleston, was 23.6% more than his predecessor, at almost $203,000.  The second-highest-paid employee, Debra Gustafson, received a 9.2% bump to $130,406; her title is different than last year, which may be related to a promotion

Five administrators in the adjacent table of the highest-paid employees received double-digit increases but had the same title as the year before.  They are Elementary Principals Rebecca Coy (10.2% to $109,488), Jennifer Black (11.5% to $109,463), Kenneth Upham (10.7% to $94,605), Phyllis Boller (12.1% to $92,826), and Kimberly Dressman (10.3% to $91,204).

The complete million payroll listing is at KansasOpenGov.org.

Student achievement much lower than parents told

The windfall from court-ordered and legislator-approved funding increase is pushing administrators’ pay higher, but like other districts in Kansas, that’s not translating into better achievement for students.

According to the 2015 state assessment, 26% of students tested (Grades 3-8 and 10) were on track for college and career in Math and 40% were on track in English Language Arts.  But the most recent assessment from 2019 shows the Math percentage improved to 31% but English Language Arts feel to 37%.

Results for 10th-graders are even lower.

The 2019 state assessment results from the Kansas Department of Education shows 50% of 10th-graders in Geary County are below grade level in Math; 31% are considered to be at grade level but still need remedial training to be on track for college and career, and only 19% are on track.

Results for English Language Arts – labeled here as Reading – show 36% below grade level, 39% are at grade level but still need remedial training and just 25% 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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