Education

Kennewick, Richland or Pasco - which school district pays its employees the most money?

What is the FOIA?

This video outlines the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which since 1967 has provided the public the right to request access to records from public agencies. The News Tribune compiled employee salary info using local government records.
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This video outlines the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which since 1967 has provided the public the right to request access to records from public agencies. The News Tribune compiled employee salary info using local government records.

When it comes to the top money makers at schools, Kennewick administrators top their Tri-Cities neighbors.

While Kennewick’s Superintendent Dave Bond’s salary came in at $141,953 for 2017-18, according to a recently published state salary database, his total pay was $247,103.

That edged out Richland’s Rick Schulte by about $20,000. While Schulte’s base salary was higher, his other pay added up to $228,586. Both salaries dwarf relative superintendent newcomer Michelle Whitney in Pasco, who brought in $175,134 in total pay.

That is a pattern reflected throughout a 2017-18 salary database recently obtained from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. The salaries may have changed since, and people could have left the positions they were in at the time the database was compiled.

On average, Kennewick tends to pay the most in salaries and Pasco the least.

Principals near top of list

Outside of the central offices of top administrators, high school principals generally get the most money.

Pasco High’s former Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Jacob Davis was the fourth-highest paid person in that district. In Kennewick, Kamiakin’s principal Chris Chelin was the eighth-highest paid in the district. In Richland, Hanford’s Principal Tory Christensen and Richland’s Principal Tim Praino were just outside the top 10 in their district.

Related: Search Salaries of School Employees for 2017-18

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Top teachers

The highest-paid teacher in Kennewick was a middle school math teacher who also coached basketball and started with the district more than 20 years ago. While his total salary is listed at more than six figures, it’s still falls short of many administrators.

In Pasco, an elementary school physical education teacher with more than 20 years of experience working in both Kennewick and Pasco districts who was the top earner among teachers. Her salary, according to the database, rivals many of the people in the central office.

The database is less clear about the highest-paid teacher in Richland because of how they are classified and also their duties, with some taking on multiple roles in the district. The state lists the activities directors at both high schools, at least one vice principal and the coordinator of the highly capable student program as teachers. The first teacher on the list is an award-winning science teacher and a coach.

The information was provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, responding to a public records request.

To search the database of state salaries, go to https://tinyurl.com/y46vwmms.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.
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