Many California residents probably are not aware of the lavish contracts offered to superintendents. Throughout the state, not just six-figure salaries, but generous pensions and benefits, along with a relatively short working year, combined with home loans attract administrators.
The San Francisco Chronicle also wrote about the now-fired superintendent Jose Fernandez at Centinela Valley:
Centinela Valley Union High School District in Los Angeles County came under fire earlier this year over the $750,000 compensation package paid to its superintendent when including wages, benefits and contract perks. An audit made public in July found Jose Fernandez owed the school district $250,000 in overpayments.
|Jose Fernandez took Centinela Valley to the Cleaners|
The Centinela school board that approved Fernandez’s contract later fired the superintendent following public outrage in the district of 6,700 students. Among the perks the board had approved was a $910,000 home loan with a 2 percent interest rate for Fernandez.
Centinela is among the districts that failed to file the requested salary information to the Controller’s Office.
What was missing from this account, however, was the allegations of wrongdoing, misconduct or malfeasance.
Legal experts have failed to find a strong precedent for disciplining school boards or restraining this payouts.
Liberal critics believe that removing local control from school districts will solve this problem. The fact is that local schools have very little control over the money, let alone the allocations with the funding.
It is time to do away with local control of schools. This may have worked a hundred years ago but not now. Local control has no real accountability. Special interest groups control the low voter turnout elections. Pension rules favor the insiders who can get set up for life even while damaging the district and its children.
This situation perfectly describes Centinela Valley, where very few residents vote, where recall efforts usually fail before they start. Why such a low voter turnout? The politically incorrect answer will point to the illegal immigrant population in the area, whether the students or the parents, or both. The less controversial answer, and more apparent reality, is that cities like Lawndale and Hawthorne, CA are poor, working class districts where parents are working two jobs just to get by. Single-parent homes are prevalent as well, which stretches the demands on family units in the region too.
The above comment highlights the role of special interests who manipulate what voters do show up. Private contractor Telacu propped up candidates to oust incumbents hostile to construction bonds. Even with all the new buildings in the district, the attendance and test scores lag well below the county and statewide averages for public schools. Much of this new construction is just lipstick on a pig.
Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered, as former Bell, CA city manager now convicted felon Robert Rizzo shared with colluding city council members and city staff.
High-performing districts are struggling to pay their staff and provide adequate resources for the classrooms. The pensions and benefits awarded to administrators and staff take up 80% of school budgets. Following the large infusion of cash from Prop 30, larger districts like Los Angeles Unified decide to squander the money on I-pads for every student , plus a computerized scheduling system, both of which ended up costing the district hundreds of millions of dollars.
All this waste, and yet no criminal charges can be pressed. Perhaps corruption would be less costly.
I have a better idea for this salary situation: statewide school choices, relaxed regulations for charter schools, and a voucher program. We need to give up the idea that a Superintendent Superman will emerge in each school district to steer the school and the students in the right directions. More often than not, administrators profit, test scores plummet, and the taxpayers get pilfered.