Larke's salary, benefits comparable to those of superintendents of similar districts

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

Richmond County school superintendent Dr. Charles Larke's contract is a hot topic these days. The school board meets with Dr. Charles Larke behind closed doors Tuesday night.

Monday, open questions about how much money he's really getting paid were brought forward by Richmond County Board of Education members A.K. Hasan, Barbara Pulliam and Joe Scott.

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

Larke's Deferred Annuity
2000$11,127 (8%)
2001$22,922 (16%)
2002$30,000 (25%)
2003$49,650 (25%)
2004$50,021 (25%)
2005$53,044 (25%)
2006$55,171 (25%)
$271,935 (TOTAL ANNUITY)

Right now, Dr. Larke's base salary is $176,000.

Back in 1999, school board members voted to give Dr. Larke an additional percentage of his salary to go to a deferred annuity, starting at 8 percent and gradually working to 25 percent.

This year Dr. Larke will receive the maximum, 25 percent--nearly $55,000 going into a tax-free account.

This brings his annual salary to $278,000.

Larke's Projected Salary
$176,000Base Salary
$47,000Travel & other expenses
$55,000Deferred Annuity

"It will be our recommendation that this clause be completely removed from the superintendent's contract," says Hasan.

But according to the Georgia Department of Education, school superintendents in Chatham and Muskogee counties, areas comparable in size to Augusta, make more than Dr. Larke.

Superintendents' Salaries
Chatham County$278,861.90
Muskogee County$228,103.32
Richmond County$227,628.49
source: GA Dept. of Education

Mechelle Jordan, Director of Public Information for the Richmond County Board of Education, says, "In fact, he comes in number eight at the top ten. So there are others obviously making more than he with more benefits or perhaps better benefits."

"The question here is, the public just did not know; and as public elected officials we just want to explain the contracts," says Hasan.

But taxpayer Eugene Hunt says he would rather Dr. Larke's contract stay the way it is...otherwise taxpayers could be paying more.

"Here's why," Hunt says. "If Dr. Larke would retire today, we would have to pay him a percentage of his salary for the rest of his life. We would have to pay for over $200,000 for the rest of his life."

A.K. Hasan recommends the board paying a portion of the benefits or increasing Larke's salary so that he can pay his own benefits.

We spoke with Dr. Larke today, but he could not comment since his evaluation is still out.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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