New L.A. Schools Chief to Be Paid $178,000 a Year


Ruben Zacarias, who becomes superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District three weeks from today, signed a $178,000-a-year contract Monday.

The contract lasts three years, from the day after Supt. Sid Thompson resigns through June 30, 2000. It will continue for a fourth year unless Zacarias or the Board of Education objects.

“I’m very pleased,” said Zacarias, 69, who will receive an additional $10,000 a year to cover insurance and expense allowances.

His contract pays him substantially more than Gov. Pete Wilson, who is paid $114,000, having refused an additional $17,000 in raises.


Zacarias, a deputy superintendent chosen over two other finalists last month, takes on the district’s top job at a time of great challenges--with declining test scores, dwindling enthusiasm about education reforms and increasing pressure to split the mammoth system into smaller districts.

He will make about $11,000 more a year than Thompson. None of the extra money will be tied to performance goals, despite suggestions from some board members that a portion of the new superintendent’s salary should be linked to improvements in student test scores or other measurable goals.