Superintendent pay increases inch up for 2016–17

by Troy Bryant

According to preliminary results of the TASB/TASA Superintendent Salary Survey, the average pay increase in 2016‒17 for continuing superintendents was 3.2 percent. Up from the 2.9 percent average increase in 2015‒16, pay raises have lingered at 3 percent after rising from 2011 levels, when state lawmakers cut public school funding by $5.4 billion. Pay increases hit a 10-year low (1.6 percent) that year. Down slightly from last year, some 67 percent of Texas districts provided a base salary increase to their continuing superintendent.


Examining superintendent pay increases in relation to the Texas Education Agency (TEA)-defined district community types in Texas, superintendents in non-metropolitan fast-growing districts experienced the highest average increase (4.2 percent). Superintendents in rural districts, which comprise about 40 percent of survey respondents, received a 2.9 percent average pay raise (up from 2.5 percent last year). In addition, major urban districts gave their superintendents a 2.9 pay increase.

Salaries by district size, community type

The average superintendent salary in Texas for 2016‒17 is $142,154. There has been a steady increase in base salaries, rising 2.9 percent in 2015‒16 and 1.9 percent for 2016‒17.


Half of reported superintendent salaries in Texas are less than $123,015 (median). In districts with fewer than 500 students, the average superintendent salary is $94,920, up from $92,479 last year (a 2.6 percent increase). These districts account for 26 percent of survey participants. In the largest Texas districts—those with more than 50,000 students—average base pay is $308,184, up from $302,563 (a 1.9 percent increase).     
Analyzing superintendent salaries by community type, average base pay in rural districts is $99,164, up from $96,231 last year. TEA classifies some 450 of the more than 1,000 public school districts in Texas as rural. Superintendent salaries average $305,909 in major urban districts.

Bonuses decrease

Performance and retention bonuses for Texas superintendents dropped to an average of $9,722 for 2016‒17. The percent of respondents receiving bonuses also dipped slightly: 5.1 percent of respondents in 2016‒17 compared to 6 percent in 2015‒16. According to the survey, job performance and retention are equally the most common reasons for the incentive or bonus.

Superintendent experience

Fourteen percent of Texas districts hired a new superintendent this year, up from last year. Superintendents in Texas have held the position in their current district for an average of four years and typically have seven total years of experience as a superintendent in any district.

Seven hundred and fifty Texas school districts participated in this year’s survey, representing 73 percent of districts statewide. Forty-six percent of participants are small districts—those with fewer than 1,000 students enrolled. Salaries in districts reporting an interim or part-time superintendent were not included in the analysis. Survey data is effective as of July 2016.

TASB HR Services members can now access 2016‒17 Superintendent Salary Survey data in DataCentral. The 2016‒17 Superintendent Compensation in Texas Public Schools report will be available to HR Services members in myTASB on November 21. Nonmembers will be able to purchase it in the TASB Store.