Miami County property owners are facing increased taxes to the disproportionate benefit of the superintendents

As the community grapples with a second consecutive year of record increases to property valuations in Miami County, it seems reasonable to take a deeper dive into spending by its taxing entities. The desire to better understand local budgets and spending of taxpayer dollars has grown as awareness of how valuations are used as part of the budgeting process has grown.

A significant portion of government spending is allocated to administrative salaries and legal fees. Public schools are no exception. In Miami County, superintendent compensation seems to have outpaced the commonly targeted 3% annual salary increases for teachers, which not all are fortunate enough to receive. Many districts have cited constrained finances as a reason they cannot offer teacher raises or hire additional teachers to reduce the number of students per classroom. Interestingly, these constrained financial resources do not seem to have impacted superintendents in the same way.

Publicly available data from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) show that district superintendents in Miami County saw as much as a 35% compensation increase over 5 years

The superintendents of Louisburg USD 416 and Paola USD 368 saw the most significant increases in compensation over the time period, averaging over 7% per year.

Spring Hill USD 230 and Osawatomie USD 367 hired new superintendents in 2022, creating a new baseline in superintendent compensation, but the prior superintendents also saw healthy annual growth averaged to be more than 3% per year.

These data reveal superintendent compensation growing at a pace that any teacher or private citizen would envy, even outpacing the rate of rapid inflation over the same period. If only teachers were so lucky.

Much needed, new teacher hires and salary increases are a focal point every year during budget time and are used as justification to increase local property taxes. Yet it seems that teachers and students get the short-end of the stick.

No doubt a good superintendent is a good investment, but it seems that Miami County property owners are facing increased taxes to the disproportionate benefit of the superintendents who are not always the most transparent about their budgets and spending.

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