Salmon could not receive a salary increase in the four years of her contract, according to Clarence Crawford, who was elected president of the state school board last month. Crawford said the $40,000 increase amounts to a 4% annual increase for the term of her service and “more fairly provides salary parity nationally, as well as locally within Maryland.”
“We are grateful for her personal sacrifice and continued leadership during this unparalleled public health crisis,” said Crawford, adding that Salmon agreed to stay on rather than retire.
Education advocates and legislators, however, have been critical of her handling of education policy issues during the pandemic. Education activists have said she has been a weak leader who failed to give school system leaders clear direction, and has not ensured that all school children in the state — particularly those with disabilities or without internet — are given an education this fall.
The Maryland State Department of Education provided The Sun with the amendment to Salmon’s 2016 contract more than a month after The Sun requested it. Superintendent contracts are public information, and local school systems routinely provide the public with superintendent contract details within hours after they are signed.
After MSDE waited weeks to turn over the document, The Sun asked for help from Maryland’s Public Access Ombudsman’s office. A week after the Ombudsman’s office initiated contact with the department, the department provided a portion of the request.
In Maryland, school superintendent contracts are prescribed in law as four-year terms. Superintendents must inform their boards by late fall if they will seek another term. Last fall, Sumpter said Salmon had done “a tremendous job” and likely would have received a second contract if she had requested it by Dec. 1.