School Superintendent Gives Up $800K Salary to Save Schools From Cuts

girls coloringI wish there were more guys out there like Larry Powell. The Fresno County School Superintendent is just ... kind of the man. After realizing that some of the school projects he most cared about were going to be eliminated due to budget cuts, Powell decided to take action. In order to save things like kindergarten and preschool programs, and the arts, Powell shaved $800,000 off his salary, or $266,666 a year for the next three years. He'll now be making less than the required starting salary for a teacher in California. High-five, Larry!

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Powell will stay as Superintendent, supervising 325 schools in 35 school districts with 195,000 students, until his term is up in 2015. When he found out what cuts were required, he asked the board to retire at his $288,241 yearly salary, and be rehired for $31,000 a year, with no benefits.

I'll be honest and say that I had no idea being a superintendent was so lucrative, but you still have to hand it to the man for being the ultimate public servant. And the way he did it was the coolest part: No press conferences, no announcements, just totally under the radar. It wasn't until a few days after the board met that word got out about Powell's generosity. And how often do you hear this coming from anyone:

How much do we need to keep accumulating? There's no reason for me to keep stockpiling money. Our goal has never been to have things. We want to give back.

Powell, 63, and wife, Dot, will have a six-figure retirement regardless of his latest act of benevolence. But you know what? I wish it wasn't so refreshing that a CEO (Powell's essentially the CEO of Fresno county schools) recognizes that his organization is in trouble and does what's right and what's selfless in order to preserve its integrity. Powell could have easy kept his bossman salary and let pre-K programs get cut and do away with art classes, but he cares about his job and his community. It's unfortunately rare to come across someone so dedicated to the greater good, someone who just isn't looking out for himself.

Now that's a leader.

What do you think?


Photo via edenpictures/Flickr

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