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School Trustees’ Plan Will Double Salaries to $18,000

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Times Staff Writer

Trustees of the San Diego Unified School District are planning to double their annual salaries from $9,000 to $18,000.

The pay increase, made possible through legislation signed last fall by Gov. George Deukmejian, is slated for a first reading in a board meeting today. Final action is expected next Tuesday.

“The board is very supportive of it,” Trustee John Witt said Monday. “There is a consensus.”

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Trustees, who are elected by a citywide vote, say they aren’t sure whether public reaction to the proposed increase will be positive, negative or indifferent. “I don’t think people are aware it’s coming up,” Trustee Kay Davis said.

Board members are prepared to argue their case. They point out that the pay raise would be the first for San Diego trustees in 10 years. Trustees emphasized that the salary would remain below the pay for a starting teacher, just as it was 10 years ago. Starting teachers now make $19,084 in their first year.

“It’s a full-time job if you’re going to do it well,” Davis said. “The vast majority of the board works at it 40 hours a week.”

“We think it’s fair, considering the workload the board has, and the responsibility,” Witt said.

Witt said the workload is comparable to that of a San Diego City Council member. “We’re making far less than than the council and we’re doing it with far less staff,” he said. City Council members are paid $32,500 annually.

The trustees have the power to vote themselves the increase. They said that many other school boards across the state have taken advantage of the pay increase legislation that took effect Jan. 1, establishing a new pay scale according to the size of the school district.

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The Los Angeles Unified board recently doubled its annual salary from $12,000 to $24,000, the maximum allowed by the state legislation. The Sweetwater Union High School District board recently approved a pay increase to $9,000, its maximum.

Similarly, $18,000 represents the ceiling for San Diego Unified, the state’s second-largest school district, after Los Angeles.

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