New Dallas ISD Boss Defends Salaries

Mike Miles defends high salaries for cabinet chiefs

By Mark Schnyder
|  Saturday, Jun 9, 2012  |  Updated 7:23 PM CDT
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Shortly before going over with plans with Dallas ISD board members, Mike Miles justified paying incoming Communications Chief $185,000 salary.

Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News

Shortly before going over with plans with Dallas ISD board members, Mike Miles justified paying incoming Communications Chief $185,000 salary.

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Mike Miles said 'he gets it.'  He understood why many in the public don't understand why his incoming Chief of Communications, Jennifer Sprague needs to make $185,000, more than the Dallas Police Chief.

"We have to have a first rate cabinet of national quality if we're going to be the premiere urban school district in America," said Miles.

Besides Sprague, Miles is also bringing along with him from Colorado Springs as Operations Chief, Kevin Smelker, who will make $220,000 per year.

He says Smelker's expertise will save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, millions over time.

"I'm bringing in two people I trust," said Miles responding to a suggestion he's bringing his friends along and paying them too much.  "They're not my 'friends.'  I've never had coffee with either of them.  I've had lunch with Kevin maybe twice in six years.  It's strictly business."

Miles and his staff start July 1.  He said it won't take long for his investments in key people to pay off.

"We're going to be much more transparent," Miles said. "We're going to be much more engaging with parents.  The proof will be in the pudding." 

"If we have a central office budget that's less than what we're spending [now] and we get better results, then I hope you guys [the media]will do a story on that and you can do that story in five months."

New Dallas ISD School Board Trustee Dan Micciche also responded to the salary controversy.

"I was not in favor of all the compensation levels but they're within the range of what the board gave Mr. Miles when he was hired," Micciche said.

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