Well, we only rank 32nd now, with our public school teachers making an average salary $6,258 below the national average of $49,026. However, if our classroom teachers were paid as much as our high school football coaches, we would lead the nation in teachers' salaries. C.S. Murphy's fine article today documents the state's educational culture and the warped judgment of local school boards that pay some football coaches $30,000 more than classroom teachers at the same school with equivalent education and experience.
Benton County leads the state in such foolish educational budget priorities. Rogers High School's Ronnie Peacock is the highest paid football coach in the state, making $96,795 and delivering a 6-4 record. Bentonville's Barry Lunney is the second highest paid in the state at $96,558.
Springdale's Kevin Johnson ranks number six in the state with a salary of $82,100, but his team's record of 4-6 ranks considerably below that, just proving that throwing money at a coach doesn't improve the program. Springale Har-Ber's Chris Wood is paid a meager $73,604, and he took his team to the 7A State Finals with a 10-3 record. Fayetteville Bulldog coach
Do you know what we pay the band directors, debate coaches, or AP teachers at our schools? Probably less, because they are less valued than football coaches by the school boards and superintendents who set their salaries. Students first, indeed. Much like the priorities and salaries at a local "student centered" institution of higher education.