Salary of new MCS deputy superintendent scrutinized

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A $176,000 salary might seem insignificant for a school district whose budget exceeds $1 billion a year.  But not to parent Denise Scott.

"That is too much!" she said.

Scott said if anybody deserves a big paycheck, it's those who teach children like her daughter.

"That's a lot of money for a new position," said Scott.

The new position under scrutiny is that of "deputy superintendent of business operations."  It belongs to Hitesh Haria who is currently COO of the St. Paul Minnesota Public Schools.  He begins at MCS April 5th with an annual salary of $176,800.

That is more than the $171,000 made by the Memphis mayor and the $150,000 salary of the Mayor of Shelby County.

A comparison with similarly-sized school districts reveals disparity as well.

The most an assistant or deputy superintendent in Louisville, Kentucky can make is a little more than $150,000.  The limit is $144,000 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  And in Nashville, an assistant to the superintendent can make no more than $133,000.

"But there is no other school district that is an all-urban district," said Memphis Education Association President Stephanie Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald believes Memphis City Schools have unique challenges.  She said only time will tell if another highly-paid central office employee will make a difference.

"If you have a person who's talented in money and cost-control, and things like that," said Fitzgerald.  "They could be worth their weight in gold," she added.

The new deputy superintendent will make much less than his boss.  MCS Superintendent Kriner Cash earns in excess of $250,000 per year.

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