Alabama’s Priorities

From the Birmingham News:

From government officials to football coaches to elementary school teachers, the three newspapers have put together a group of Alabamians and their salaries that spans the state and its many aspects of life.


Nick Saban
Head Football Coach, University of Alabama
Location: Tuscaloosa
Salary: $4.7 million

LaRon White
Job: High School Football Coach
Location: Tanner
Salary: $54,966

Jamie Golliver
Seventh-grade teacher
Location: Madison
Salary: $49,579

Savannah Osborne
Fourth-grade teacher
Location: Irondale
Salary: $36,000

Alabama residents, don’t ever wonder why our state consistently ranks poorly in nearly every measure of academic performance. Your public school teachers are doing their jobs on a wing and a prayer, trying to teach kids to pass federal tests while also trying to impart some of the valuable life skills you’re supposed to learn in school. And they’re spending a significant part of the little money they make on materials for your kids.

But Alabama, come on. You’re spending $4.7 million on a college football coach (and I imagine quite a bit over in Auburn as well). That could fund the staff of an entire elementary school (or 130 entry-level teachers across the state). What could possibly be the ethical justification for giving one man so much, in a state where the average worker makes $40,000 per year?

I realize that $4.7 million may be the going rate for a national championship-level college football coach, but please, Alabama, don’t question the loyalty of teachers or the role of the AEA in our state’s educational progress. You want your kids to have a better education? So do I. An extra $4.7 million a year would be a good start.

4 thoughts on “Alabama’s Priorities

    1. Don’t really know, my interest is in the state where I live, to be honest. With a well-earned reputation for low academic performance, some of the lowest education taxes in the country, poorly paid (non-unionized) teachers, and extreme poverty in large parts of our state (we’re talking 20% unemployment), it’s obscene to pay nearly $5 million for a football coach. At least make him teach Health. :)


  1. It would be interesting to see the total administrative costs at the highest levels of Alabama’s education system. I know here in my town our outbound superintendent makes $197,686 and her car allowance is probably more than the teacher in Madison. All that too say efficiency in the system could produce more money for our hard working teachers, but not to the levels of a Sabin or Chizik. Football is a huge pull and if I remember correctly those ventures at Alabama and Auburn generate roughly $20-30M in revenue each. Maybe we could learn from those institutions on how to raise that money for our grade/high schools.

    I’m willing to pay for quality teachers and hope we can find a solution soon in our state, but I”m not willing to support incompetency at any level which is what we’ve seen here in Huntsville.


    1. That’s a great point, Robb. The article mentions a salary of $225,000 for the Mobile county superintendent, which also seems a bit extravagant considering the fact that schools themselves are facing cutbacks. When I worked for the Baldwin school system it was clear they were top-heavy — executive-level positions kept being added on top of the existing central office administration. We had a finance manager, then they added a CFO. We had a technology coordinator, but they added a CIO. I think we were up to four superintendents at one point, not even counting the directors of each department within the central office.

      As for football, I realize the economic force that college football has become. But when you pay a college coach as much as you pay 100 teachers, football is probably going to remain the only economic force you’ve got.


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