Superintendent defends salary

HARBOR BEACH, Mich. — Harbor Beach Community Schools Superintendent Ron Kraft received total compensation of more than $300,000 last year, higher than his counterparts in some of Michigan's largest public school districts, according to media reports.

While some in the small district of 600 students have questioned the amount, Kraft says his pay reflects experience, workload and success, media reported.

Public school districts in Michigan are now required to post the compensation of their top-paid employees online. Kraft's base salary as superintendent is $104,000, according to television station WJRT.

Last year he also received $49,000 for handling some high school principal duties, a position the district does not staff; $5,000 for checking road conditions; $9,000 for working more than the 225 days required by his contract; a $30,000 annuity; and about $39,000 for cashing in sick days, according to WJRT and Michigan Capitol Confidential.

"It's appalling," area resident Sandra Glide told WJRT. "There is no reason for somebody in this small community with our base to make that kind of money."

Kraft, who has been with the district for 13 years, pointed out to Michigan Capitol Confidential that the district received high grades on its Michigan Department of Education report card, has a balanced budget and did not lay off any employees this year.

He plans to retire this fall and then return at a $60,000 salary, he told Michigan Capitol Confidential.

WJRT, "Local superintendent's compensation package draws scrutiny," Sept. 21, 2010

Michigan Capitol Confidential, "$300k Superintendent Defends His Compensation," Sept. 25, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "About half of districts posting financial data," Aug. 23, 2010