Based on the year-end evaluation of Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred B. Ada, the 16th CNMI State Board of Education voted to retain him in the position and raised his compensation to $125,000 per annum at the special board meeting last Dec. 17.
Ada’s $125,000 salary means his per month compensation is approximately $10,417. That amount is 65% federally funded. The Public School System, through the Office of the Commissioner of Education, administers and oversees 22 federal grants. The 65% represents the required indirect cost that is allowed by federal granters for education superintendents.
According to a BOE and PSS statement yesterday, the pay scale was put in place many years ago under a compensation policy approved and voted by BOE. Prior to hiring any education commissioner, BOE offers and announces the salary and benefits as they begin the hiring process for the position.
The BOE, as the policymaking and governing-board of the PSS, has determined that, as the district superintendent and chief state school officer, Ada’s annual salary should comply with the pay scale that the BOE has set. Any pay raise and benefits that were approved for Ada were also approved for the past three education commissioners who have passed their evaluation, the statement added.
During Ada’s first full year of service, which was subject to evaluation, Ada agreed to receive a much lesser pay of $90,000. His previous pay was based on the PSS standard compensation plan for holders of postgraduate degrees, such as doctors of education, along with other required/credited number of years of education experience, training, and other skills.
“To be perfectly clear the Commissioner of Education, Dr. Ada, never requested this salary. The BOE made this recommendation based on his performance—that’s why we raised his salary,” said the BOE statement.
The BOE statement said it believes that Ada has performed above and beyond what was expected of him during his first year in office. He has helped the school district receive unprecedented federal grant-awards that helped ease the impact of the financial challenges facing PSS as a result of the two super typhoons and today’s COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the COVID-19 and with the overall economic challenges impacting PSS, no Commissioner of Education had to navigate this most challenging time,” said BOE, adding that he has been positive, determined, and vigilant during the “most difficult time in PSS.”
The priority now, the BOE said, is to commit to further improving the school district’s best practices in managing its human resources. To ensure equity, among others and in particular, by addressing principal salary in the administration of the JROTC and Special Education Programs.
The average school superintendent salary in the U.S. mainland is $164,000 as of November 2020. The amount increases depending on many other important factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience.