Annual Survey Shows Increases in Compensation for Texas School Superintendents in 2021–22

For release: November 29, 2021
Contact: Sylvia Wood, 512.467.3665,
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The median salary for a Texas school superintendent in 2021–22 is $143,969, up 4.8 percent from prior year as school districts seek to recruit and retain talent, according to the annual Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) and the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Superintendent Salary Survey.

The survey is conducted each fall to help school districts across the state understand compensation trends as they seek to attract and keep top superintendent talent for their districts. Of all the responsibilities entrusted to school board members, among the most important is hiring and evaluating a superintendent, said Amy Campbell, director of TASB HR Services, which administers the survey.

“Recruiting and retaining the best superintendent for the district is so important to a district’s success,” Campbell said. “Having current information on how other districts in Texas are compensating their superintendents helps a district to develop a competitive pay and benefits package and hire the best-fit superintendent for their district.”

This year’s survey included participation from 684 districts or about 67 percent of the total number in Texas, marking a higher rate of participation over last year.

Although the median superintendent salary increased to $143,969 up from $137,314 in 2020–21, there were wide variations in those medians based on district size.

Among the 15 districts with 50,000 or more students that responded to the survey, the median superintendent salary was $342,000, up 4.5 percent from the year before. Among the 169 smallest districts with 499 or fewer students that responded to the survey, the median superintendent pay increased to $106,000 or about 5.5 percent higher than the year before.

“Smaller school districts account for the majority of districts in Texas so it’s important to look at the survey results based on enrollment,” Campbell said. “We provide an overview of salaries based on the median so school boards can better understand the numbers as they relate to their district.” District administrators can run reports based on enrollment and education service center region using TASB HRDataSource™.

The survey also looks at trends with superintendent experience. Among those 98 districts in Texas reporting a new superintendent in 2021–22, 70 percent hired a superintendent with no previous experience in the position. In 2020–21, the percentage of districts hiring a first-time superintendent was 59 percent.

Although the percentage of first-time superintendents is higher this year, Campbell said the overall trend has stayed relatively constant over the past five years. In 2017–18, of the 94 districts reporting a new superintendent, 69 percent hired a first-time leader. New superintendents generally have prior experience as a deputy or assistant superintendent so they’re not entirely new to a district leadership role.

Another data point of interest is the amount of time that superintendents spend in their district. The median is about three years, which remains unchanged from last year.

Salaries remain only one part of a superintendent’s overall compensation package, and survey results also include data on bonuses, transportation benefits, health insurance benefits and cell phone reimbursement, all of which can add significant value to a paycheck.

Key findings include:

  • Only 5 percent of responding districts (35) gave a bonus to their superintendent with more than half of those bonuses being $5,000 or less. Over the past five years, the percentage of districts paying a bonus has ranged between 4 percent and 8 percent.
  • About 21 percent of responding districts (142) are paying a car allowance to their superintendents, continuing a downward trend over the past five years. The median vehicle allowance is $6,000, a number that has stayed consistent.
  • 89 percent of districts reported paying health insurance benefits for their superintendent with a median contribution of $3,900 annually. That percentage has stayed consistently between 84 and 89 percent over the past five years.
  • 36 percent of districts (239) reported providing their districts with a cell phone allowance. The median is $1,200 annually, an amount unchanged from last year.
  • Some districts are continuing to pay housing subsidies to some superintendents with 10 percent or 64 providing either a residence or housing allowance. Only seven districts reported providing both. The median housing allowance is $6,500.

In compiling the survey data, TASB HR Services sends an email survey invitation to 1,020 school districts across the state. Salary data from districts with interim and part-time superintendents is not included.

“Our goal is to provide school districts with helpful data and market trends,” Campbell said. “What we’ve seen is that superintendent compensation packages are tailored to superintendent needs and that school boards do an excellent job of coming up with contracts that not only reflect the market but the specific culture and environment of their districts.”