Duval School Board agrees to $320K salary for Superintendent Christopher Bernier
Christopher Bernier tries to calm nervous parents after another weapon was found on campus.

Dr. Bernier Main Photo 8x10
'Four years out, $320,000 won't be enough.'

Christopher Bernier will get most of the salary he wanted from the Duval County School District, entering the role during a time of transition and tumult, including declining enrollment and school consolidation plans.

After asking for $350,000 a year, the Board agreed to pay $320,000 to Bernier, the former appointed Superintendent of Lee County and the preference of Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz.

“When we advertised this position at $350,000, we were trying to recruit as many candidates as we could,” said Chair Darryl Willie, noting that $350,000 wasn’t a “final land” ultimately, and that money Bernier sought for a mentor wasn’t provided.

Willie noted that Bernier will lead 10,000 employees, and unlike in other counties, there won’t be “raises every single year.” He also noted that the Board will review Bernier’s performance yearly.

“Four years out, $320,000 won’t be enough,” Willie predicted.

The Board unanimously selected Bernier last month for the role, and Willie noted that everyone on the Board would have access to Bernier.

“It’s about those kids at the end of the day. We have done due diligence,” Willie said, calling the Superintendent vote the most important thing the Board would do.

Ahead of ratifying the contract by a 6-1 vote, other Board members reflected on the process.

“Sometimes you don’t pick your battles. They pick you,” observed Warren Jones, who noted that Bernier was the fifth Superintendent in eight years for Duval County Public Schools.

Jones noted also that Bernier would get a “7 to 8% increase” over the current Superintendent, presenting an optical problem given budget deficits and looming school closures in the District, which has suffered due to parents opting for charter schools in recent years with money following students to their preferred educational options.

Board member Lori Hershey noted that Superintendent pay needs to increase to find parity with the heads of JEA and other leaders of independent agencies, but that the current pay scale is “competitive” with other urban districts.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


4 comments

  • Frankie M.

    June 12, 2024 at 11:43 am

    It’s the Florida way!

    • Shiverspirit

      June 12, 2024 at 12:08 pm

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  • Vicky

    June 12, 2024 at 12:14 pm

    With a salary of $320k, this man can well afford paying for his own car & moving expenses! The school board really knows how to pick ’em!

  • MH/Duuuval

    June 12, 2024 at 10:35 pm

    The elder statesman Warren Jones makes a good point. How’s about we tie the new guy’s salary to enrollment and attendance?

Comments are closed.


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