Superintendent's Salary Raise Controversy

John O'Sullivan
John O'Sullivan

The superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County public schools has been re-signed for another three years. And while many are happy to have John O'Sullivan stay, others are shocked by the pay raise that goes with his new contract. Since the board of education decided to re-sign O'Sullivan, they negotiated a $20,000 raise and, compared to the annual one percent raise teachers get, some are saying it's just way too much.

Is he really worth it? That seems to be the question many are asking about the board of education's decision. We spoke with a member of the Savannah Federation of Teachers who said, Alfreda Goldwire, who said, "We support the superintendent, but we don't agree the $20,000 raise. It's just way too much."

But board members say his raise is justifiable and comparable to other superintendents in counties of this size. "This is mid-range in the salary of superintendents," said BOE president Hugh Golson. "To lower that salary would be to chase off this superintendent, and probably not find another that would work in those ranges."

"Superintendents are CEOs," said O'Sullivan. "While we are in fact educators, in many respects we are CEOs of very large corporations."

The board also had the option of getting a new superintendent, but they told us it costs just as much to get a new superintendent as it does to keep the one we already have. And they say that will give O'Sullivan time to completely implement his plans.

"And that was the concept we agreed upon with this superintendent that he could have a period of time that's feasible to turn the system around," said Golson.

The boards says they'll be keeping a close on the superintendent to make sure he lives up to what they negotiated.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen,