The winner of the election to lead Alameda County's Office of Education will get a starting salary $70,000 a year less than the $222,000 now paid to outgoing Superintendent Sheila Jordan, whose pay has risen 110 percent in the 16 years she's held the job.

Fearing that one of the five candidates running for Jordan's position will not have the level of experience it prefers, the Alameda County Board of Education in April lowered the starting salary to $150,000 a year.

"There is an enormous variance in experience of the candidates," said board member Ken Berrick during discussion of the issue in March. "We want to have discretion in setting the salary."

Board President Joaquín Rivera said the board could revisit the pay issue after the election when it finds out who is elected.

"After the election, based on the qualifications and experience of the person elected, the salary could potentially be increased," Rivera said.

Of the five candidates, Jeff Bowser, Naomi Eason, Helen Foster, Karen Monroe and Ursula Reed, one could win the job in the June 3 election with over 50 percent of the vote. But if none gets over 50 percent, the top two vote-getters will go on to the November election.

History has shown that the position can be a lucrative place to be if you stay in it as long as Jordan. Jordan started in 1999 at a salary of $109,575. From 2002 through 2010, a time span that included the country's worst recession, the board raised her salary every single year an average of $11,888 a year.

Contact Doug Oakley at 925-234-1699. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.