Annuities in Larke's contract push his salary past most other superintendents in Georgia

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

Questions are still swirling around Richmond County School Superintendent Dr. Charles Larke.

How much does he really get paid?

How does it compare to other Georgia school districts?

News 12 sorts the facts from the rumors.

His evaluation is still not complete...but Dr. Larke's contract has become even more of an issue after it was revealed that the annuities in his contract push his salary past that of most other superintendents in the state.

"For the shape that our school system is in and the amount of money that he's being paid, I don't think he's earning his money," parent Herb Gaskins says.

"If he's doing the job and I feel that he must have been doing a good job, nobody said anything until now," says parent George Price.

Last week, Richmond County Schools spokesperson Mechelle Jordan told News 12 that Larke's pay is lower than superintendents' salaries in comparable school systems, like Chatham and Muskogee counties.

"In fact, he comes in number eight at top ten so there are others obviously making more than he with more benefits or perhaps better benefits," Jordan said.

But Jordan told News 12 today that she made that statement based on numbers from the Georgia Department of Education's website.

Those figures only list the base pay for the positions, and do not include total benefits.

With the benefits added, Larke's $278,000 contract makes him one of the highest-paid superintendents in Georgia.

Salary w/ benefits
Richmond County$278,578
Gwinnett County$260,775
Dekalb County$227,606
Fulton County$200,600

Larke's salary with benefits is even higher than that of superintendents in counties three or four times the size of Richmond County...like Gwinnett, Fulton, and Dekalb.

It's why board member A.K. Hasan says he's leading the charge for a change in Larke's contract.

"We shall recommend that the superintendent receive a straight salary with no hidden benefits," Hasan said.

Others say that if Larke is being overpaid, he's not to blame; rather, blame school board members who approved his salary six years ago.

"Somewhere along the line someone had to grant him that, I'm sure he didn't do it himself," says Price.

Dr. Larke cannot comment on this issue since his evaluation is still not complete.

School spokesperson Mechelle Jordan says she has nothing further to say regarding Larke's salary.

The school board is expected to finish Larke's evaluation before their meeting on Wednesday.


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