Poplarville teachers, superintendent make more than the average

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2016

According to the state superintendent’s annual report for the 2014-2015 school year, the average salary for the state’s 32,230 classroom teachers decreased slightly to $43,308.
According to the previous year’s report the average salary for the state’s 31,102 teachers was $41,849.
The 2014-2015 report states that Poplarville School District had the highest average teacher salary in the county, and the only one above the state average, at $45,375 for its 133 teachers.
Picayune School District’s 222 teachers earned an average of $42,503, Pearl River County School District’s 177 teachers earned an average of $42,351 and Lumberton School District’s 51 teachers earned an average of $40,708. Those three districts were below the state average.
The report also showed the lowest and highest earning districts in the state.
North Panola School District had the lowest average teacher salary, at $38,087, and Pascagoula School District’s teachers earned the highest average salary at $48,926.
According to the state salary schedule for that school year, the base salary for a teacher with bachelor’s degree with zero to two year’s experience is $33,390. Those with master’s degrees and zero to two year’s experience start at $35,780.
In 2015-2016, base salaries rose to $34,390 and $36,780.
After three years, educators with bachelor’s degrees receive a $495 yearly raise, and those with master’s receive a yearly raise of $660.
After 25 years, teachers receive a $2,060 yearly raise, no matter the degree.
For the 2014-2015 school year, the average salary for district superintendents was $110,339.
Only one superintendent in Pearl River County earned above the state average salary for that year, Poplarville Special Municipal
Separate School District. Superintendents at three of four districts received salary increases for the 2015-2016 school year, while the state average rose to $112,392.
In 2014-2015, Pearl River County Superintendent Alan Lumpkin earned $94,577, which was increased to $110,000 for the 2015-2016 school year. Picayune School District Superintendent Dean Shaw earned $101,401, which increased to $102,648 for 2015-2016. Poplarville Separate School District Superintendent Carl Merritt continues to earn the highest superintendent salary in the county, $127,801 in 2014-2015 and $129,700 in 2015-2016.
Lumberton Public School District Superintendent Linda L. Smith, Ph.D. earned $94,554 during both school years.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education, each district’s school board determines the superintendent’s salary.
The report also states three superintendents in the state earn less than $20,000 a year, including Carroll, Perry and Clay County school districts.
In a 2015 interview with the Hechinger Report, a journalistic education organization, Carroll County School District Superintendent Billy Joe Ferguson elected to take a lower salary to compensate for the district’s struggling budget.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Tupelo Public School District superintendent earns a salary of $223,800, $23,000 more than the next highest district in Jackson.

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About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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