During former Superintendent Jim Hinson’s tenure, the Shawnee Mission School District’s administrative footprint expanded significantly. Though Hinson left the district in 2017, that administrative legacy lingers on, giving the district the distinction of having had the most central office administrators among the highest paid personnel in Kansas public schools for the 2018-19 school year, according to a recent analysis by the Kansas Policy Institute.
The KPI analysis of public school district payrolls found that Shawnee Mission had six of the 25 highest paid administrators in the state last school year, more than any other district. Blue Valley had five administrators among the top 25. Olathe Public Schools had two.
The KPI analysis looked at the largest school districts in the state by enrollment, and found that 19 administrators employed by Kansas public school districts had compensation packages totaling more than $200,000 in 2018-19. Five of those administrators — Superintendent Mike Fulton; Deputy Superintendent Kenny Southwick; Assistant Superintendent Michelle Hubbard; Assistant Superintendent Doug Sumner; and Assistant Superintendent Rick Atha — were in Shawnee Mission.
However, the Shawnee Mission administration has announced a series of moves in recent months that have already reduced the administrative footprint for the current school year. Deputy Superintendent Kenny Southwick, whose compensation package totaled $261,733 last school year, retired in July. Rick Atha, who served as an assistant superintendent in 2018-19, became the new deputy superintendent, and his former position was not filled, effectively reducing the ranks of top central office staff by one.
Chief of Student Services Ed Streich, who was also among the six administrators on the list, announced earlier this year that he will retire in summer 2020.
The contraction of central office headcount through retirements has been cited by current Superintendent Mike Fulton as a way to help address funding shortages, particularly for schools that have lost Title 1 money in recent months.
Fulton’s total compensation package of $306,450 for 2018-19 made him the third highest paid superintendent in the state behind John Allison in Olathe ($338,547) and Todd White in Blue Valley ($315,048)