School Managers to Get Raise Despite Teacher Opposition

Times Education Writer

Despite teachers' complaints that school district administrators are overpaid, the Los Angeles Board of Education on Monday agreed to give top management 8% raises this year and next year.

But the board left open the possibility of a smaller raise for those administrators in 1991.

Ninety-eight senior administrators earning more than $74,600 annually will receive the raise, board President Roberta Weintraub said after a lengthy closed session Monday evening.

The raise extends to Supt. Leonard Britton, whose $141,000 salary will increase to $152,280 in the current school year and to $164,462 in 1989-90. Weintraub said the raise makes Britton the third-highest paid district superintendent in the country, after New York and Miami.

The board also announced that school-based administrators--including principals, assistant principals and deans--will receive 8% raises this year, next year and in 1991--identical to the 24%, three-year wage agreement reached last month with United Teachers-Los Angeles.

Weintraub said the board will ask for a study comparing top administrative wages in Los Angeles with other large urban districts before deciding the size of the raise senior management will receive in 1991.

'Very Hard Decision'

She also suggested that other sweeping changes in the structuring of teachers' and administrators' salaries that the board endorsed earlier this year will affect the size of a raise for top officials in 1991.

"This was a very hard decision," Weintraub said, but "I feel it is fair. It gives us a rational reason for making a decision on the third-year" raise.

She said it also sends the public a message that the board is sensitive to criticisms about the high salaries many administrators earn.

"I would not have supported 8-8-8," she said.

Weintraub said she was the swing vote behind the salary raise agreement for top administrators.

Board members Rita Walters, Leticia Quezada and Alan Gershman also voted in favor of the wage proposal for senior administrators.

Julie Korenstein, Jackie Goldberg and Warren Furutani opposed it, Weintraub said.

In other actions Monday, the board continued to deliberate about millions of dollars in budget cuts that district officials say are necessary, largely to pay for higher teachers' salaries next year. It so far has slashed $40.5 million from its 1989-90 budget, and as of late Monday planned to make further reductions.

Included are reductions in assistant principal positions, lottery payments to schools and central office spending.

To balance next year's budget, the board needs to make reductions totaling at least $44 million. But it could cut as much as $56 million, depending on whether it decides to add new programs proposed by district staff.

The board earlier had faced potential cuts of more than $80 million, but that figure was reduced in part because of a cost savings of $20 million in salaries resulting from the teachers' strike, higher than anticipated lottery revenues and repayment by the state for voluntary integration programs.

Board Divided

Goldberg, Korenstein, Furutani and Weintraub supported the 24% three-year salary agreement reached with the teachers' union last month, and have voted for the reductions. Gershman, Walters and Quezada, who opposed the raise, have voted against most or all of the cuts.

"Children are going to be hurt," Walters, who has voted against all the cuts so far, said Monday. "What we are doing is making cuts that are going to have a heavy impact on services to young people--services that teachers say they need to have. It's very devastating--and depressing."

The board is scheduled to complete the cuts by next Monday, when a tentative budget--still projected to exceed this year's level of $3.5 billion--is due.

In one of the cuts approved Monday, the board agreed to change the formula used to allocate assistant principals. This change will eliminate six secondary and nine elementary assistant principals, which will save $901,448 next year.

One of the largest reductions approved calls for trimming the per-student allotment of lottery money from $18.25 to $13.25, which saves about $3 million a year. Schools have the freedom to decide how to use the funds. Although the state Department of Education has urged districts not to use lottery money to pay for salaries, many districts, such as Los Angeles, have spent a significant portion of the special funds on employee raises.

The board also voted to reduce central office budgets by 5%, a savings of $6.6 million. The board has not specified yet what positions or programs would be affected. But the reductions could include eliminating services of outside consultants, some high school work experience and instructional advisers, bilingual education advisers and clerical support for school-based health clinics and mental health centers.

Other reductions include leasing instead of buying portable classrooms ($10 million), cutting the reserve for potential liabilities by 50% ($7.4 million), reducing a reserve account used to alleviate overcrowded schools ($1.5 million), reducing support services for the mentor teacher program ($804,492) and eliminate teacher-training workshops on new methods of teaching reading and writing ($136,273).

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