Being a superintendent or high school principal in an Allen County public school is still a man’s game.
That’s what The Lima News Public Salary Study showed when payroll figures for the 2019-20 school year were published Sunday.
Lima Schools Superintendent Jill Ackerman, Perry Superintendent Alison Vangorder and Lima Senior Principal Mary Mort were the only women to hold the top leadership posts in the county’s nine public school districts. That’s three of 18 spots, if you’re having trouble with your math.
The sad thing is that number is actually an improvement from five years ago when Ackerman was all by her lonesome.
The study included school districts in Lima, Shawnee, Elida, Bath, Perry, Allen East, Spencerville, Delphos and Bluffton.
Other highlights from the study:
• Nearly half of the people on the lists had some sort of supplemental contract that helped schools pay for the many programs in which they are responsible. These included stipends for being a coach, athletic director, a detention monitor or a bus driver trainer.
• All nine superintendents in Allen County last year were paid a salary in excess of $100,000, with the average salary being $114,673. Five years ago only three of the nine superintendents topped six figures, and two of those only did so because along with their base salary, they had supplemental contracts and were paid for unused vacation time.
• There was a wide range of pay for school treasurers. Two treasurers were paid more than $100,00: Shelly Reiff, of Lima at $107,879 and Joel Parker of Elida, who is also a CPA, at $105,437. Meanwhile, treasurers at Bath and Perry school districts didn’t even make the Top 10 list at their schools. The salary for the remaining seven treasurers ranged from $74,713 to $91,614.
This year marked the 27th year for the annual public salary study. The first few years of the salary study brought some angry phone calls from people who saw their 1993 yearly wages printed in the newspaper. Today, the complaints are few. People have accepted the fact that taxpayers have a right to know what they are paying for government services.
We’ve learned many things from the studies:
• In 2012, the project showed Cridersville Police Chief John Drake was paid more than $78,000, just $10,000 less than Lima chief Kevin Martin. It turned out Drake was working an exorbitant amount of overtime. By year’s end, Cridersville village council re-examined the police chief”s duties, making the job a salaried position paying $58,500.
• The effect of the ice storm on Lima and Allen County overtime budgets drew attention in 2006. A street supervisor earned more than $20,000 in overtime after working 18-hour days, seven days a week, for several weeks. He noted his personal life became a casualty to the ice storm.
• People were equally astonished to learn in 2000 the high cost of salaries needed to pay medical workers in Lima’s prisons. Four were paid more than $200,000, with the highest being $222,794.
• In 2003, we reported several Allen County officials gave back some of their wages because of tight budgets in their departments. Commissioner Steve Diepenbrock donated $1,776. State law dictated that Clerk of Courts Ann Geiger receive a $697 raise, but she passed it on to her employees. Allen County Sheriff Dan Beck donated $577 because some staff members were not getting raises.
• In 1997, out of the top 50 salaries among all public school districts in Allen County, only 10 were earned by women. The highest-ranked woman was No. 12, and that was only because of the retirement buyout she received.
Are all of these situations right or wrong? In the end, that’s the public’s decision.
We can tell you most of our readers appreciate the payroll study. Every year after it’s published, they call with suggestions for next year’s report.
ROSES AND THORNS: A happy ending to a story about a lost dog earns a spot in the rose garden.
Rose: Chloe, the Chihuahua found along Interstate 75 after a Michigan woman had her car stolen, has been returned to her owner, Krisi Sample of Adrian, Michigan.
Rose: The Allen County Sheriff’s office had two people in custody the morning after they allegedly made a nighttime threat of violence toward Elida schools.
Rose: It took 17 months, but the United Steelworkers Local 624 ratified a contract last week with the Lima Husky Refinery. Both parties can breathe easier for a little while as the new contract expires in 19 months.
Rose: Get it while the price is cheap. That’s the motto of the City of Lima as it is beginning its street paving program next week by taking advantage of historically low asphalt prices. Normally the work wouldn’t begin until later in the fall.
Rose: Longevity and loyalty have been a way of life for Charles Ardner, of Delphos. He and his wife Helen will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Wednesday. When it came to raising their six children, he worked 50 years at a Ford dealership in Van Wert.
Rose: To Jeannine and L. Brooks May of Delphos, and Judith and Willis Riemesch of Elida. Both couples celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last week.
Thorn: A series of events that eventually led to Quintel Estelle gunning down Donald Smith of Lima began with a family argument about dirty dishes in the sink.
Thorn: Robert Land, 82, has been charged with “safecracking” after sticking his hand in a night deposit box and stealing two envelopes.
Thorn: Twenty-two students at Wapakoneta High School have been quarantined after a student at the school tested positive for COVID-19.
PARTING SHOT: A dog-owner’s morning prayer: “Lord, let me be as smart today as this dog thinks I am.”
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.