Hall County schools by the numbers
Superintendent's new salary: $186,681
Superintendent's previous salary: $177,791
Total schools: 35
Charter schools and programs of choice: 23
View salaries of other school system employees at www.open.georgia.gov.
Whenever the Hall County Board of Education has tried to give a bonus to Superintendent Will Schofield in recent years, he has turned it down.
But the board has found a way to give it to him anyway.
Schofield’s contract, which was renewed over the summer, called for a 5 percent merit-based annual bonus. Now the school board has done away with the bonus and instead given him a 5 percent raise.
The board voted to raise Schofield’s salary of $177,791 by 5 percent, or $8889.55, at a recent meeting, citing his leadership of a number of positive changes in the district.
“We went through the superintendent search and saw that Schofield had some vision and was willing to think outside the box,” Board Chairman Nath Morris said. “He brought to us opportunities and progress to give our kids a better educational experience.”
Schofield has led the district in the adoption of programs of choice and charter schools, which allow students to receive an education relevant to their interests and talents.
“We think he’s deserving of more salary,” Morris said. “We talked about increasing teacher salary this year and getting back to 180 (school) days. The superintendent never asked for anything. He’s been very unselfish.”
School district employees received a 3 percent to 6 percent pay raise this year after facing cuts, furloughs and layoffs during the recent economic recession, according to Brad Brown, executive director of human resources for the district.
Brown said all employees took a 2.4 percent pay cut during the crisis, and Schofield took a 3.4 percent cut. Employees including Schofield have taken furlough days for the past several years, Brown said.
Brown said he did not have the exact amount of Schofield’s new salary, but his previous salary plus 5 percent is $186,680.80
Schofield said he did not accept his bonuses in the past because it didn’t seem fair to do so.
“It’s been hard times for all of us, and it certainly didn’t seem appropriate for a leader of an organization to take bonuses when others are taking cuts,” he said.
A 5 percent bonus would have amounted to around $8,890.
The board approved the renewal of Schofield’s contract in June, then changed the 5 percent bonus to a 5 percent salary increase Aug. 25. The change took effect retroactively at the beginning of the contract July 1.
Brown said Schofield’s previous salary was low for a district as large as Hall’s, which has around 27,200 students.
“He was next to the bottom in pay for systems of the same size,” Brown said. “To me, he’s underpaid, even though he makes a lot of money, for what he does for the system. ... His creativity and ingenuity and his foresight are extremely valuable to the system.”
Schofield said he was not expecting the raise, and added that he’s glad the board was finally able to increase pay for employees systemwide.
“It certainly was the first year that we were able to get millions into salaries,” he said.
Brown said salaries for employees throughout the district are not fully restored after the austerity cuts.
“They’re getting closer,” he said, “but we’re still way behind.”
Morris said Schofield’s raise did not require a change to the school district budget, which previously included the bonus.
“For the past several years, he’s turned (the bonus) down. The board advised him to take it, but he turned it down because others were getting cut,” said Brown. “What they did was they took the 5 percent and basically made him take it.”