Harford schools chief is granted 10 percent raise

$190,000 salary puts Haas in top tier in Md.

March 02, 2007|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,Sun reporter

Harford County Schools Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas, whose contract was renewed this week by the county school board, will receive an annual salary of $190,000, placing her in the top tier of Maryland school chiefs.

According to the contract released yesterday by the school system, Haas' third four-year agreement since taking over in 1998 will pay her more than double the salary of County Executive David R. Craig. Haas, who leads a school system with 40,000 students, also has nearly doubled her starting salary, which was $105,000 for the 1999-2000 school year.

"She's doing a great job," said school board president Mark M. Wolkow. "We are just very pleased with the results that we've been getting. She's been able to drive change through a large organization, and that's not easy for someone to do."

The contract Haas signed four years ago had a base salary of $135,000 and built-in increases and bonuses that increased it to $173,000 this year, according to figures compiled by the state Department of Education. Her new salary represents a 10 percent increase over last year's pay.

A former special education teacher and principal, Haas had not completed her doctorate - a degree held by most superintendents - when she was promoted from acting superintendent nine years ago.

She earned that degree from the University of Maryland in 2005, triggering a $5,000 bonus, and Wolkow said it was among the considerations in increasing her pay.

The new contract calls for her pay to increase at the same rate as other county administrative employees - plus 2 percent - and provides her a $600 monthly vehicle allowance.

The board of education has been under fire recently, prompting new efforts to create an elected school board. Richard C. Slutzky, a Republican member of the County Council, said many complaints have been lobbed at the administration as well as the board.

"I certainly think the central administration is part of the expression of concern that goes along with the board of education," said Slutzky, a former county teacher.

He questioned why Haas' salary would increase at a rate higher than teachers.

"We've been fighting the battle in education for parity, so we can be competitive in the job market," he said. " ... I didn't think we were in any danger of losing [Haas]."

Added Councilwoman Veronica L. "Roni" Chenowith, a Republican from Fallston: "I think a 40 percent hike [over the first year of the previous contract] is kind of out of the mainstream, when we're turning over every rock to find money for education."

Haas becomes the eighth-highest-paid superintendent in Maryland, according to Department of Education figures. Harford trails Prince George's, Baltimore, Charles, Montgomery, Anne Arundel and Howard counties, as well as Baltimore City.

The highest-paid superintendent in the state is Baltimore County's Joe A. Hairston, who is paid $262,500 to lead that county's 107,000-student system.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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