by Stephanie Elkins Evansville, IN 47720

If you’ve been paying attention to the state of education within the EVSC as reported by school superintendent, David Smith, he would haveEVSC SUPERIDENT DAVID SMITH  you believe all the red shirts teachers are sporting is indicative everything is coming up roses for those who make their living inthe classroom. He’d have you believe that the budget for salaries is both fiscally responsible at the administrative level, because he employs lean staffing, and that precarious budget allotment from the state has been equitably distributed with regard to compensation for teachers. It’s just that the darn state budget needs to “keep pace with inflation.” David Smith expresses no outrage about teacher compensation. He seems to find no fault that teachers can’t garner a living wage by which they might support their families, repay the student loans they took as a means of acquiring said teaching degree, further additional educational pursuits, or adequately prepare for eventual retirement. As someone who derives his earnings from the same constrictive statebudget, one wonders why aren’t these any of his personal concerns?

Let me tell you why. If you add together the salaries of both Governor Eric Holcomb and Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, you’d still be“in the red” by $54,795 with regard to Smith’s compensation. David Smith is paid 27% more than our Governor and Lt. Governor combined. Let that sink in. $256,973 was David Smith’s total compensation in 2018 according to the Gateway Public Database. David Smith is allotted $1000 a month as an automobile allowance. Additionally, per his contract, Smith is automatically awarded a 3% increase to his compensation every year simply for being designated “highly effective” or even “effective” by the board. Over 5 years his scheduled salary increases amount to more than a first year teacher earns in a year. Every 5 years EVSC could be hiring another teacher for less than what Smith takes as a pat on the back for doing his job at a second-tier level. This isn’t someone who can justifyhis bloated salary via adept decisions and vision resulting in giant increases in shareholder return. This is a public sector employee who serves at the pleasure of the school board and is paid with your tax dollars. Being a superintendent means both tremendous responsibility and significant time constraints to his personal time right? Well sure, but he employs a chief of staff at $132,899, 2 associate superintendents at $132,583, and $131,281, a deputy superintendent at $132,575, 2 assistant superintendents at$110,377 and $106,403. That’s approximately 7 more governors, or 20 new teachers depending on how you choose to interpret the data. The above mentioned staff is just a sampling. Visit the Indiana Gateway Database and you’ll find an additional 16administrators who each earn in excess of $95,000 a year helping him do his job.

For those who earn their living actually teaching students, circumstances are dramatically different. Per their contract, they received a 2% raise in 2018, and a 1% raise in 2019, but only if they met a series of metrics, with no future guarantees. Starting teachers employed by EVSC are compensated $37,500 a year. Of the 4 largest Indiana school corporations (IPS, Ft. Wayne Community Schools, EVSC, and Hamilton Southeastern) EVSC has the lowest salary minimum. Of those 4, EVSC also has the lowest average wage among teachers working in the corporation (data per USA TODAY). Teacher salaries within the EVSC have been capped at $70,000. Conversely, EVSC has the highest compensated superintendent of those 4 corporations. The wealth inequality that exists between educators and administrators in our local district is palpable.

What that means for local teachers is that many must exhaust themselves with second and third jobs to make ends meet. This is the reality for our teachers, and ultimately impacting to the quality of education our children receive. Both deserve better. To quote Smith, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” Teachers are not practicing for something else. The lights are on, and the curtain is up. It’s Smith’s performance we should all be watching very closely.


Stephanie Elkins Evansville, IN 47720

FOOTNOTE: This letter was posted  by the City County Observer without opinion, bias or editing.


  1. While I agree 95% with this “letter”, comparing EVSC teacher wages to the other 3 school corporations must also factor in the cost of living in each locale. It would be best to rely on the numbers pertaining to what the “letter” states as it’s objective and leave price comparison to grocery shopping.

    • Wouldn’t the cost of living be the same for the superintendent and teachers in each locale? Highest paid superintendent and lowest paid teacher in same locale still wouldn’t make since would it?

      • If you keep electing the same people to the school board, you will always have this inequity. Are we going after what they pay the administration staff or what they pay the teachers? The premise she presents is against administration and that’s what should be the focus, as that makes the most “since”.

  2. EVSC has a history of overpaying superintendents. Smith is just the latest to feed at that trough. The school system has been top heavy with overpayed admininstrators for a long time. Change must come from the top. Dislodging Smith would be a good start, pay his successor a reasonable salary and limit the number of well paid administrative underlings he can have on staff.


  3. Good letter, Stephanie. Been saying this for years. EVSC is littered with individuals that have been elevated to “Adminsitrators”, “Directors” or “Chief Officers”; to validate 6 figures salaries. The “braintrust” keeps spending money on programs and building facilities to validate their bloated salaries. Time for a house cleaning. Get rid of some of the administration and give pay raises to the actual workers…..teachers and janitorial/maintenance.

  4. Just another reason that I am SO glad we moved out of Evansville before my children reached school age. No wonder there is a teacher shortage. No wonder teachers are leaving the profession and going back to school for other careers. Sickening.

  5. Personally, I have never seen any administrator that worked any harder at any phase of his/her career. He is on call 24/7 and carries a large load on his desk. I do not begrudge him his salary but I do think the classroom teachers should be paid a lot more!! Each teacher is responsible for their classroom. Smith is responsible for ALL classrooms and the people in them. Few could do his job as well as he does under the conditions of the job.

  6. Unbelievable, If I was a teacher I would not work until I was paid what I deserved. No one should be paid the amount David Smith is paid. Cut the amount in half.

  7. If the EVSC is producing a quality education, he’s worth every penny.
    If not, get rid of him. Mama always said, “if you’re not going to do something about it, shut up”.
    and something about if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything.

  8. I can not imagine doing his job. I knew he was the second highest paid super int he state but when you see these comparisons that just brings a new light. Other countries treat their teacher with much more respect and recognition. It’s not his fault that he accepted this pay salary… however I would like to see him fighting more for those that make up his school Corporation.

  9. Limiting the supply of teachers via a similar mechanism of Lawyers, Doctors, and CPAs would go a long way in increasing pay. As it stands now, the very people you are complaining about and negotiating contracts with are controlling the constant supply of doe eyed 22 year olds graduating from state run institutions of higher learning. Think about it, there is a reason why every state school has an education program. The state wants an ongoing supply of cheap easy to replace workers each year. That is the reality. Look inward and change your tactics. Word to the wise teachers. Control the supply. Make it harder to become at teacher through limits on the number of grads and the difficulty of achieving the certification. As it stands now this crying game of pay “not fair” which has gone on for as long as I can remember will never end. It does not work and falls flat. To be honest, all we citizens hear is the moaning and complaining year after year. Get control of the supply. The Governor is not your enemy, the superintendent is not your enemy. You are doing it wrong.

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