February 22, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

KSHB Adds Context to Kansas School Funding Debate

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Kudos to KSHB-TV for adding context to the Kansas school funding debate.  KSHB 41 Action News investigated the staff salaries in five school districts and discovered what the Sentinel learned a few weeks ago: Many Kansas City-area schools boast a lot of employees with fat wallets.

In “Shawnee Mission leads area school districts in employees who make $100K or above,” KSHB reporter Andy Alcock compared salaries for employees of Blue Valley, De Soto, Kansas City, Kansas, Olathe, and Shawnee Mission School Districts. The investigation revealed that SMSD has 76 employees earning more than $100,000. The journalist provided context, noting there’s one SMSD’s $100K-plus earner for every 364 students. Blue Valley’s ratio was one $100K-plus earner for every 526 students, and KCK and DeSoto ratios were much smaller, according to the story.  None of the staff members earning more than $100K in the KSHB story are teachers.

In addition to lucrative salaries, some administrators and other school employees receive other cash compensation, including bonuses and supplemental pay. Wichita School District Superintendent Allison Thompson, for example, will earn in 2017 a base salary of $240,000 plus a $780 monthly car allowance, $525 per month for incidentals, and an annual contribution of $25,000 to her retirement. When total compensation packages are compared, Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission have similar numbers of employees making more than $100K per year.  Fringe benefits are not included.

KSHB provided factual coverage, both sides of the issue, and added vital context to the school funding debate.

Kansas Open Gov, a website, tracks annual compensation information for the state’s largest school districts as well as for several Kansas counties and cities.

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