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Why Bureaucrats Stonewall on Salaries

Tuesday November 3rd, 2015   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 8:46am PST   •  

CAEduDept_200The California State Controller, the state’s chief fiscal officer, has a mandate to “make sure the state’s $100 billion budget is spent properly.” In that cause, the Controller’s Office recently asked the state’s school districts to provide data on salaries. As Loretta Kalb notes in the Sacramento Bee, “about 70 percent of the public school systems across the state – and a slightly higher share in Sacramento County – did not provide the requested information.” And education bosses did not thank the Controller for asking.

David Gordon, superintendent of the Sacramento County Office of Education, said “the controller doesn’t have any obligation to keep salaries.” That is actually the Controller’s call to make, and they want the data. Gordon claims his office is transparent, so there should be no problem. The county superintendent also said release of salary data would be “misleading.” Bill McGuire, deputy superintendent of the Twin Rivers Unified School district, told Kalb the salary request means “an enormous amount of work” for district staff. The state’s request, he said, is “not reflective of the wages.” The real problem here is that bureaucratic blowhards want to keep their gold-plated salaries in the dark.

As we noted, the Twin Rivers District recently boosted McGuire’s annual salary by $16,000, raising his yearly take to $239,000, a full $24,000 more than when he started 18 months ago. Twin Rivers superintendent Steven Martinez bagged a salary increase of $20,000, boosting his pay to $260,000. The district also double his retirement payment and allowed Martinez to convert a $10,000 car allowance into salary. Pay hikes for Maguire and Martinez were not linked to any improvement in student achievement. The district also employs two “associate superintendents,” both paid more than $200,000.

County superintendent David Gordon did not mention his own whopper pay and benefits package of $315,422.94 but perhaps he has a point that the salary data is misleading. With California’s K-12 students ranking near the bottom, no taxpaying parent should think that bloated bureaucratic salaries lead to increased academic performance.

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November 2015