COMPTON : Pay, Ethnicity of School Appointees Criticized

The state-appointed administrator running the Compton School District came under fire this week for recent appointments of new top administrators in the district.

Administrator J. Jerome Harris promoted Acting Supt. Harold Cebrun to superintendent. He also named George J. McKenna III, Inglewood school superintendent, as deputy superintendent of instruction, and Bonnie James, director of design and construction at Los Angeles Unified School District, as deputy superintendent of fiscal services, business operations and personnel.

Cebrun, who came to the district in July, 1991, as an area superintendent and became acting superintendent in December, 1992, will be paid $105,000 under a one-year contract. McKenna and James, who signed four-year contracts, will earn $103,000 a year each.

Some critics said Harris was spending too much money for administrators in the financially strapped district; others expressed concern that all the new administrators are African American.

"Monies are not being directed where they are needed, in the classrooms," Margie Garrett, president of the Compton Education Assn., said this week at a school board meeting. "We are confused, upset and disappointed."

Board member Amen Rahh echoed her concerns. "We now have six superintendents," he said. "Not one of them has anything to do with the children."

Board member Gorgonio Sanchez criticized the lack of Latino administrators. "It's very disappointing," Sanchez said. "We need Latinos in top positions." About 60% of the district's students are Latino.

Harris did not respond at the meeting. But previously he had defended his choices, saying "an exceptional leadership team is needed" to turn around the beleaguered district.

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