Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration

First Committee Member

Christopher Stream

Second Committee Member

Antonio Gutierrez

Third Committee Member

Jessica Word

Fourth Committee Member

Venkatesan Muthukumar

Number of Pages



Governor Cuomo of New York, as reported in New York Times, said ( referring to School District Superintendents) : I understand that they sometimes have to manage budgets, and sometimes the budgets are difficult,” “But why they get paid more than the Governor of the state I really don’t understand.” He further stated “We have $500,000 school Superintendents...We can’t pay those kinds of salaries.”

Partial potential answers to Governor Cuomo’s query are: benchmarking is used to determine compensation, there is lack of transparency and the taxpayers are not even aware of the amount paid out to the superintendent and further there is a lack of accountability for the school district educational performance. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 and discussions of inequality from the Pope to Federal Reserve Chair and new Federal legislation and regulations have highlighted and brought to the fore issues with compensation.

This study addresses three related compensation questions in public sector to wit: (1) Are tax payer funded Public School District Superintendents akin to investor funded company CEOs? (2) Is there a relationship (correlation) of school parameters/outcomes with the compensation of a Public School District superintendent? And; (3) what should be the basis to compensate Public School District Superintendents’?

Benchmarking is a tool that was developed by Xerox in 1980’s to improve performance of warehousing activities- differences between its peers with respect to physical characteristics (sizes, shape, and weight) Benchmarking looks to its industry to create a comparison with peers benchmarks- comparison with its peers. Benchmarking, not really designed for awarding compensation, is now used as a basis for school district superintendent compensation. But, consider this: according to Education week – Quality counts 2015: State report cards for all states – (The US average was a grade of C with Nevada receiving a grade D and New York receiving a B-). Because of lack of transparency and performance metrics benchmarking is currently adopted as an expedient methodology to award compensation to public school district school superintendents and CEOs of privately funded- investor funded-public companies. Indeed, Public School District superintendents have classified or argued to classify their titles as akin to CEO’s of privately investor funded companies. As discussed in this study the comparison is fallacious.

The study also addresses important school district parameter such as enrollment, gender, teacher pay, teacher-pupil ratio, graduation rate, English Language Learners (ELL) enrollment, and students with disabilities (Student LD) enrollment. These parameters were selected from the available secondary data to determine whether there is a correlation between superintendent compensation and these parameter. The study found no correlation. If the Public School District Superintendents are not akin to CEOs of a privately funded companies then what should be the basis of the compensation. The denouement of this study is a new innovative Compensation Predictor Model (CPM) rooted in quantitatively analyzed data. CPM methodology can be used to determination compensation awards and even bonuses.


Public Policy

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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