By Pam Zekman

(CBS) — Troy Paraday is the highest compensated superintendent in Illinois, even though his Calumet City School District 155 is small and the students are failing.

He makes even more money than the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

2 Investigator Pam Zekman asks: How could this happen?

Paraday makes a base salary of $315,814, but he also gets an annuity of more than $31,000. The board also pays his pension contribution of $36,000 plus $29,000 for insurance and other benefits.

With everything, that’s about $400,000 a year.

Parent Christopher Clark is incredulous: “What? How is he getting all that money?”

The school board awarded the contract in 2013 as a five-year, pre-retirement deal for Paraday. So, taxpayers are stuck paying for it through 2018 — and beyond, for his pension.

Paraday oversees three schools with just 1,200 students. Fifty-six percent of them are from low income families. Last year, only 21 percent met or exceeded standards on the PARCC exam.

“When school achievement is low and your district is relatively poor, it’s unconscionable to pay extraordinary salaries,” says Andy Shaw, president and CEO of the Better Government Association.

Pam Zekman paid a visit as the school board met. She asked Paraday: “What have you done to deserve that?”

He did not respond directly to the question. School board members also passed on commenting in detail.

“The board will not discuss any of the employee’s terms and conditions in open session,” board member Barbara Crull said.

Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute that compiled information about Paraday’s payday, says silence is a problem.

“Taxpayers deserve to know way before these things are being negotiated. Otherwise, the bad deals are signed and taxpayers foot the bill,” he says.

Paraday’s latest contract awards him a 6 percent pay raise every year until he retires in 2018.

The Illinois Policy Institute estimates his first year pension could top $297,000 — adding up to $9 million if he lives to the age of 80.

“Those pensions are paid by you and me and the rest of the taxpayers around the state,” the BGA’s Shaw says.

The school district’s attorney defends Paraday’s salary by saying he performs two jobs as superintendent and the district’s chief business official. The attorney also says Paraday has improved the district’s financial condition during his tenure.

The school district is currently operating under a $2 million deficit and is under review by the state.