The City Where The East Peters Out is grumbling about the gonzo salary paid to Jennifer Sprague, the new communications chief at Dallas Independent School District.
DISD and other school districts have been slashing jobs, freezing salaries, and shuttering schools while struggling to teach kids how to read, write, add, and subtract.
Taxpayers spewed Coke through their noses upon learning that Dallas’ new school Superintendent Mike Miles elected to pay Sprague $185,000 a year to, like, communicate and stuff.
That’s about $100,000 more than she earned at her previous communications job at a Colorado school.
It’s more than the White House press secretary earns. It’s about five times higher than the median income in Texas. It’s about time I consider switching from journalism to public relations.
Over here in the City Where The West Begins, six-figure salaries are also dispersed among Fort Worth Independent School District’s top brass. But they’re not as high as in Dallas.
Sprague’s counterpart at FWISD is Barbara Griffith.
I emailed Griffith to ask for her annual income, and included a crack about it feeling strange to ask about someone’s salary.
“Not strange at all — my salary is public information,” she responded.
Griffith earns $129,531 in base salary, along with $3,510 for her automobile and $600 for a cellphone, for a total of $133,641. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but $50,000 less than Sprague earns.
So what does Griffith do to earn all that cheese?
Let us count the ways, according to this FWISD position description for senior communications and media relations officer:
1. Serves as the primary media spokesperson for the district and the Superintendent.
2. Develops and oversees the communications strategic plan for the district for both internal and external communications.
3. Manages the activities of an aggressive, proactive, and creative communications operation providing a district media connection for both internal and external communications.
4. Approves all written materials generated and released to the public by the district staff.
5. Responds to requests for information from the general public, news media, and staff and coordinates requests for speakers from community organizations and other groups.
6. Plans and oversees the development and communication of information designed to keep the public and school district staff informed of the district’s educational agenda in a systematic fashion.
7. Manages the review and editing of publications and website content and the development and editing of letters, correspondence, and speeches for the Superintendent.
8. Prepares and disseminates news releases, brochures, newsletters, videos, and fact sheets on school district activities, events, initiatives, and programs.
9. Prepares the district’s annual report, highlighting achievements, initiatives, and important statistics.
10. Manages the crisis communications management plan, ensuring awareness and sensitivity to the adverse impact of inappropriate actions and those that may be perceived as inappropriate.
11. Conducts communications workshop and training sessions for district employees to enhance their skills in effective media communication.
12. Plans multi-media events that promote a positive image of the school system.
13. Develops and maintains good working relationships with local and regional media representatives.
14. Produces scripts for Board meetings, special events, public service announcements, and district videos.
15. Provides a variety of administrative services related to special projects, programs and community forums, including planning special events and activities and preparing background information and special materials.
16. Performs all other duties as assigned, including management of 130 individual campus websites, management and execution of the District’s social media strategy (including 30 Fort Worth ISD, department and campus Facebook pages and Twitter account) and the District’s marketing strategy and brand development, including the development and implementation of brand identity and Visual Identity Guide.
I’ll add my own No. 17 — Deals with prying, diligent, and occasionally intrusive reporters on a regular basis. (Betty Brink says hello!)