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Super Vacations for Superintendents

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School superintendents in the Washington, D.C. region’s largest districts take as much as 12 weeks of paid leave a year for “vacation, personal matters and professional travel to such destinations as Florida, Europe and Asia,” according to the Washington Post. The paid leave is in addition to salary and benefit packages ranging from $341,530 to $489,763.

Loudoun County, Va. Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III took a total of 60 days of paid leave between July 2007 and June 2008. Of those days, 49 were spent on several speaking engagements and tours in the U.S., Rome, Madrid, and Beijing in “pursuit of reinvigoration and professional growth.” Hatrick said he regularly works 13 hour days and on weekends.

The trips logged by the superintendents cost their school systems, on average, $5,636 for the year.

The superintendents’ leave tends to draw criticism from parents who question travel as a priority. “Travel to places like Florida, in the dead of winter, somebody should think twice," said Lyda Astrove, a Montgomery County, Md. parent. "I think that we've got enough issues right here at home." Critics also assert that superintendents have a responsibility to be in the office because of their high salaries.

School chiefs say, however, that travel is an important part of the job helping them keep abreast of current trends. Fairfax County, Va. Superintendent Jack D. Dale defended himself in an e-mail to the Post, "When you are superintendent of the 12th-largest school system in the country, you are expected to take a national leadership role in education."

5 Comments

Most of us read journals to keep "abreast of current trends." Maybe someone out there will believe this ....

This superintendent gets a huge salary, and the cost of his travel is minimal by comparison. He is comparable to a CEO of a huge corporation. He is a leader, and conferences are held all over the country for all kinds of professionals at various times of the year. Doctors go to conferences all over the country.They get paid lots of money. Wouldn't you expect them to be in their offices seeing patients and doing their rounds?
We want our highest paid professionals to be at the top of their game, and to do that, they need to be always learning. Reading journals is a good practice, and I'm sure the superintendent does. Expecting him to stay in his office at all times is unrealistic. I would like to have seen a balanced report that compares his travels and salary package compared to other superintendents of comparable districts, and how district superintendents compare to the leaders in business and medicine and other professions.

This sounds lika an enormous amount of complaining. I would like to know if anyone has a solution? It has been widely reported that the 12th largest school district is the least performing district, so the superintentent might consider going back to school;study how to teach children with technology and another important topic; managing conflict. I do not believe you can teach empathy, but it might be worth a try. Therefore, superentents could model for the teachers these important 21st century topics. It could be beneficial to see a study compare the best performing with the least performing and see who is taking the longest vacations or business trips as I recall them being named. Consider letting the best performing superintents teach the least performing districts superintents the 10 valuable lessons they attribute to their success.

If the 12th largest school district is the least performing, maybe the superintendent should be fired.

As long as teachers and superintendents are keeping current during the summer when school is out of session it shouldn't matter whether they are in their office.

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  • td: As long as teachers and superintendents are keeping current during read more
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  • Cathy: This superintendent gets a huge salary, and the cost of read more
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