It seems odd that at a time when schools are grousing about a lack of education funding, school district administrators are seeing their salaries grow to exorbitant levels. Odd though it may be, that’s exactly what’s happening. 

According to the Austin American-Statesman, from 2007 to present, the number of employees working in Austin Independent School District (AISD) making six-digit figures has jumped 63 percent, even as the school district’s operating budget decreased 16 percent from $862.9 million to $724.2 million and more than 1,100 budgeted positions disappeared. 

Some of AISD’s $100k+ earners include: 

Meria Carstarphen, superintendent $283,412

Mel Waxler, chief of staff $204,970

Bill Caritj, chief performance officer $180,250

Nicole Conley-Abram, chief financial officer $180,250

Paul Cruz, chief schools officer $180,250

Pauline Dow, chief academic officer $180,250

Lawrence Fryer, chief operations officer $180,250

Michael Houser, chief human capital officer $180,250

Ariel Cloud, associate superintendent $150,667

Gilbert Hicks, associate superintendent $150,667

Maria Montoya-Hohens, associate superintendent $150,667

Edmund Oropez, associate superintendent $150,667

Alex Sanchez, executive director of public relations/multicultural outreach $115,360 


To add even more context to these figures, remember that President Obama only earns about $400,000 and the Texas Governor about $150,000.  

Undoubtedly, AISD is not an isolated case. Excessive administrator compensation has long been an issue; but hopefully, with the Legislature now in session, it’s something that lawmakers will take a close look at as they make appropriations for public education.