Former Superintendent Steve Green made $300,000 a year plus perks — including a $2,600-per-month expense allowance and annual bonuses of up to $22,000 — that brought his pay close to $400,000.
The salary would put Watson-Harris just ahead of the base salary for incoming Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring, at $320,000, but behind the other superintendents of metro Atlanta's largest districts. They also are the only two women.
Watson-Harris has to make it through a 14-day waiting period after being named a finalist before she can officially be offered the job. The board voted on May 11 not to hire Rudy Crew, president of New York's Medgar Evers College, as the district's superintendent after announcing him as the sole finalist for the position on April 23.
School board member Joyce Morley took issue with the planned compensation package, mentioning that Watson-Harris has yet to receive her doctorate, that other educators working in the district are paid based on their level of education.
According to her resume, Watson-Harris is expected to receive her doctorate from New York University next spring.
"People should be paid for their education," said Morley, a longtime educator and psychotherapist. "If you're going to base peoples' pay on a scale based on their education, if you're going to base their pay on theirs and not hers ... you're discriminating against these people.