The House and Senate passed a law Tuesday that would raise the maximum salary for the state department of education superintendent and other department officials.

The decision comes at a time when the Hawaii Department of Education is struggling to make ends meet after significant budget cuts from the state.

The superintendent’s annual maximum salary allowance will increase from $150,000 to $160,000, with a potential annual performance bonus that could reach as much as $90,000 after three years on the job.

The deputy superintendent’s salary cap is being increased to $130,000 from $120,000 per year, with an annual performance bonus of up to $50,000. Assistant superintendents can now make as much as $120,000 per year, with annual performance bonuses of up to $20,000.

The new law allows for complex area superintendents, who oversee several schools in the same geographical area, to be paid an annual salary of up to $120,000, with a maximum performance bonus of $40,000.

The new salary caps will apply during the 2011-2012 school year.

Given the department’s financial struggles — Furlough Fridays are still unresolved — do you think this a good time to increase salary caps?

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