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New Palm Beach, Fla., Superintendent to Be State's Highest Paid Schools Chief

The new superintendent of the Palm Beach County, Fla., district will be the state's highest paid schools chief.

Robert Avossa, currently superintendent of the Fulton County, Ga., schools will earn a base salary of $325,000 per year when he starts his new job in July.

That total is $25,000 less than the initially negotiated amount of $350,000, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that Avossa decided to take less money "after some teachers complained that his high pay comes at a time when teachers don't have a contract."

Although Avossa agreed to the change, he is still expected to be Florida's highest-paid superintendent. Alberto M. Carvalho, of Miami-Dade County, the state's largest school district, is paid $318,000 per year.

Palm Beach County is the 12th largest district in the United States and fifth largest in Florida, behind Miami-Dade and the Broward County, Hillsborough County, and Orange County school systems, according to American School and University Magazine.

Robert Runcie is paid $284,000 annually to lead Broward County. New Hillsborough County, Fla., Superintendent Jeff Eakins signed a contract this week that will pay him $225,000 a year, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Orange County Superintendent Barbara Jenkins earns about $250,000 per year, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Palm Beach County's superintendent search began in January after current superintendent, E. Wayne Gent, announced that he would not seek to renew his contract.

Gent makes $236,000 annually, but a survey found his salary was below that of superintendents in comparably sized and smaller districts, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

The job opening attracted 72 applicants, including several internal candidates and some high-profile hopefuls. Avossa has led the Fulton County, Ga., schools since June 2011.

"We strongly believe that Dr. Avossa is the candidate to successfully lead our district in building upon our strengths and help us overcome the challenges that school districts face today," school board chairman Charles Shaw said in a statement.

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