Money isn't everything; Baltimore County search: School board needs to focus on the attributes it wants in the next superintendent.


THE BOARD OF Education in Baltimore County is considering raising the school superintendent's pay 56 percent to $200,000 to attract top candidates to replace Anthony G. Marchione, who is retiring next spring.

But the board should not delude itself that high pay alone will encourage the nation's best administrators to apply for their top position, or that a "superstar" is what the system needs.

Dr. Marchione's current salary of $128,750 is, indeed, below that of other large school districts. The average pay nationally for superintendents is about $146,000, according to the Council of Great Cities Schools, which represents the 58 largest urban school systems. With 106,000 pupils, Baltimore County falls in the middle of that group. A moderate raise is in order.

But it isn't necessary to pay the superintendent as if he or she were a free-agent sports star. It is not in the county's interest to create a huge pay disparity between the superintendent and other school employees. Moreover, the county position shouldn't have trouble attracting exceptional candidates.

The school system enjoys broad support, is well-financed and has already undergone necessary, painful reform earlier this decade.

It's more important for the board to determine what it wants in the next superintendent than focusing on how much it's willing to pay him or her.

Superintendent pay

School system Salary

Anne Arundel Co. $115,000

Baltimore City $185,000

Baltimore County $128,750

Carroll County $115,000

Harford County $105,000

Howard County $134,246

Montgomery Co. $237,000

Prince George's Co. $160,000

State average $104,807

National average $146,000

SOURCE: State Department of Education

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