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New database details pay of California public school employees

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Database allows users to examine compensation figures for California school employees
Salary database includes pay for K-12 employees at California public schools

Last year, James Hammond, the superintendent of the Montclair-Ontario Unified School District in the Inland Empire, was paid $492,077. Jonathan Eagan, the principal of a junior high school in the Bay Area city of Martinez made $279,669.

And 31 custodians at California public schools were paid more than $100,000 in 2013. 

That is a sample of statistics found in a newly released online database that allows users to search and download detailed employee compensation figures for superintendents, teachers, principals and other staff members at school districts across the state.

The figures were added to Transparent California, which compiles compensation data for a variety of public sector employees. The education section of the website is composed of more than 581,000 individual compensation records from last year for about two-thirds of districts statewide. 


FOR THE RECORD:
Public school salaries: In the July 25 LATExtra section, an article about an online database that details the salaries of public school employees reported that Jonathan Eagan, the principal of a junior high school in the Bay Area city of Martinez, made $279,669 in 2013. The Martinez Unified School District has said it provided incorrect compensation figures to the creators of the database. The correct figure is $139,834, according to the district. —


The California Policy Center, a Tustin-based, nonpartisan think tank that operates the database, submitted Public Records Act requests with more than 1,058 school systems, but have so far only received data from 653, said Jordan Bruneau, a spokesman for the center.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest system in the nation, has yet to provide the documents.  

"The public votes on tax measures, bond measures without complete knowledge about how the money is being spent,” said Ed Ring, the center's executive director. “Taxpayers are paying these salaries so they have a right to know.”

The California Teachers Assn. supports the release of salary schedules and school district budgets, which show the range of pay teachers receive and overall staffing costs, said Frank Wells, a spokesman for the union. 

"However, we see no legitimate purpose in taking that down to the individual teacher level by name, and a database like this would seem to be an invasion of privacy that doesn’t really serve any meaningful purpose,” Wells said.  

The group found that 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.

The total figures include base pay, overtime, benefits and other forms of compensation.  

More than 1,000 retired instructors who had already begun receiving their state-funded pension continued to work and receive a salary from districts in 2013, the group found.

Mark Bucher, the organization’s president, called on the Legislature to close a legal loophole that allows the practice.

“This data illustrates that double-dipping is far more pervasive than originally thought,” Bucher said in a statement. “So-called public servants should not be allowed to bilk taxpayers out of a second salary because of a legal loophole.”

The Centinela Valley school district superintendent, who attracted scrutiny because of his pay of more than $750,000 last year, was reported to have made $344,734. The district did not provide the group with records amounting to his total compensation, the center said. 

The Board of Education has moved to begin dismissal proceedings against Supt. Jose Fernandez mainly because of his contract provisions.

Among other local superintendents, Gregory Franklin of Tustin Unified made about $346,840; Jon Gundry of Pasadena Unified was paid about $321,230; and Richard Sheehan of Glendale Unified made about $304,930. 

For education-related news, follow @stephenceasar

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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