Despite shortfall, Gist is still on top in state salaries

Despite a state budget crunch, the Tulsa School Board has renewed the contract of Superintendent Deborah Gist, who remains the highest paid common education official in Oklahoma.

Only one board member, Jennettie Marshall, voted against the three-year extension, and asked when classroom teachers would get a raise.

Under the contract extension, Gist’s base salary will be around $241,000. That alone makes her the highest paid administrator in Oklahoma. Her base salary will increase should teacher and support staff salaries go up based on union contract negotiations. Gist gets $1,500 per month for a car and cellphone.

Oklahoma City Superintendent Aurora Lora has a base salary of $220,000. Oklahoma City has the state’s largest public school district while Tulsa is second largest.

The contract extension does limit the annual performance bonus of $25,000 to only the first two years. Rather than a bonus in the third year, Tulsa Public Schools will pay for a $25,000 tax-sheltered annuity during this fiscal year. And the contract states that in every year that she gets a performance bonus, TPS will add $25,000 more to the annuity.

Also, if Gist stays at her job through June of 2018, she will get a retention bonus of $68,000 – slightly less than the $75,000 retention bonus under the previous contract. If she stays all the way through June of 2021, she will get a retention bonus of $54,000.