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School Employee Salaries at All Time High?
updated: Aug 04, 2014, 8:45 AM

By Tom Lewis

In my last article I wrote about the amount of money Santa Barbara City Council approved for tourism. There were a lot of interesting comments and a big discussion that I appreciate reading here on edhat.

In the same vein I recently read a LA Times article about the website, TransparentCalifornia.com making all public school employee salaries available for anyone to do. Previously the website had posted city officials' salaries but it recently added the school system too.

After reading the article and looking through this website, the results are shocking. Where exactly is our money going? According to the LA Times, "... the average full-time teacher in California made $84,889 last year and about 34,750 teachers were paid more than $100,000 in total compensation. One hundred superintendents made more than $250,000 last year, the data shows."

Every year it feels like there is a new measure or bond on the ballot for schools asking for more money. Every year I feel like a large percentage of my tax dollars are going to the school system, even though my children have been out of public school for years. I support schools, I want the best education for the next generations to come, but why is there always an increase? Why can't the school officials manage this money properly. According to this website, it's the over-inflated salaries.

Here is what I found for Santa Barbara Unified School District in 2013:

  • David Cash - SUPERINTENDENT - $283,304.87
  • Margaret Jette - ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT - $193,307.61
  • Ben Drati - ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT - $173,624.07
  • Emilio Handall - ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT - $168,897.11
  • Margaret Christensen - ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT - $165,524.32
  • Helen Rodriguez - ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT - $165,207.66

    Can someone please explain why we need FIVE assistant superintendents who all make well over $150k/year. I don't understand the job duties it takes for there to be five separate positions for this amount of money. On the flip side of things, the lowest paid full time teacher in Santa Barbara Unified School District, makes $20,000/year. I'm seeing a huge pay gap between the principals (who all seem to make over $100k) and the teachers.

    This also brings up the recent decision in LA about terminating tenure for teachers. I feel this is a good idea. Every one in every other profession is held up to their work performance to determine if they keep a job. If you're not doing well, you get fired, simple as that. Why are teachers exempt? If there is a poorly performing teacher in our district, why must they still be influencing our children if they're bad at their job? Just because they've been there a while? That doesn't make any sense. Energetic and newly graduated teachers can't find positions because tenured and overpaid teachers are hogging them. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great teachers out there who have been doing well for a long time, they clearly have a passion for the job. But some don't, and they shouldn't be protected.

    As a taxpayer, this is very concerning to me. The school system needs to make public where the money is going. They (the school system) need to explain why an educator can be paid such a high salary yet they complain about not having enough funding, teachers, supplies, books, space, etc.


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