Magazine article District Administration

Save Money, Share Superintendents

Magazine article District Administration

Save Money, Share Superintendents

Article excerpt

Sharing superintendents is becoming smart business in Iowa.

In 2007, the state introduced a program that provides financial incentives to districts that share administrative personnel. The popular program has expanded from 16 shared superintendents in its first year to 52 in 2016-17, or 19 percent of the state's full-time superintendents, according to state Department of Education data. The districts are mainly rural, serving an average of 500 students.

The main benefit to sharing superintendents is financial. The average salary for a full-time superintendent in Iowa is $147,825. When districts share a superintendent, they split that cost, plus they each receive about $53,000 in state incentive money.

Mike Peterson is superintendent of Wapello Community School District and Morning Sun CSD. He says having one person advocating for multiple districts can encourage state legislators to notice problems, such as school funding. "Since I can show the effect of school funding levels in two districts and not just one, legislators can get a broader picture of a policy's effects."

The trend of sharing superintendents is growing, particularly among small districts in the Midwest, says AASA. Robert Decker, a retired professor of educational leadership from the University of Northern Iowa, says that Iowa has been a leader in shared superintendence but South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Kansas have also used it.

Decker adds that principals are key. "If the building principals are good at what they do then the superintendent reaps the benefit and eliminates some of the challenges," he says. …

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