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High-school principals this year are earning an average of $55,722, an increase of 5.2 percent over the last school year, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

The survey, released last week during the nassp annual convention, shows that junior-high and middle-school principals are earning an average of $52,163, while elementary-school principals earn $48,431 a year; each is an increase of 5.5 percent over last year.

The highest-paid senior-high principals earn $88,310, the survey found, while the highest-paid junior-high and middle-school principals earn $87,042. The top-paid elementary principals earn $84,455.

For the fourth consecutive year, principals in the Far West earn the highest salaries. The mideastern section of the country is second and New England third. The lowest salaries are found in the Southwest.

Assistant principals also posted gains. Senior-high assistants earn an average of $46,486, junior-high assistants $44,570, and elementary assistants $40,916, the survey found.

"These salary increases are a clear indication that school boards know the importance of strong leaders in restructuring our schools," Paul W. Hersey, nassp's director of professional assistance, said in a statement. He noted that while the Consumer Price Index rose 4.8 percent last year, principals' salaries over all rose by more than 5 percent.

The survey is based on data collected by the Educational Research Service from more than 1,000 school districts.

Copies of "Administrative Information Report," order number 1609002, are available for $2 each from nassp Publication Sales, 1904 Association Drive, Reston, Va. 22091.

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