CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Michael Martirano will be the highest-paid state superintendent of schools in West Virginia’s history.
The state Board of Education unanimously voted on Tuesday to hire Martirano, superintendent of St. Mary’s County school district in Maryland, at an annual salary of $230,000.
Jim Phares, whose last day as state superintendent was Monday, was paid $165,000.
Until recently, state law prohibited the superintendent of schools from making more than $175,000. The state school board successfully fought over the past year to get the Legislature to remove that salary cap, saying it would expand the pool of superintendent candidates.
Martirano was paid about $217,000 at his former job in Maryland.
“We couldn’t have gotten him without paying a little more,” said state school board member Lloyd Jackson. “We really perceive that we had to have that salary level. No matter what people think, it takes that kind of salary to attract the best people across America.”
Martirano’s salary will amount to more than five teachers’ average annual salaries. West Virginia is ranked 48th in the nation in teacher compensation, according to the state’s branch of the National Education Association.
In Ohio, the state schools chief is paid about $160,000 annually, while Pennsylvania’s public schools leader makes about $140,000. In Kentucky, the state superintendent makes about $225,000…