Controller seeks pay data from all California public schools
State Controller John Chiang has asked every public school district in the state to provide salary and benefit information for all employees and elected officials so that it can be posted on the Web and shared with the public.
Chiang has said that making the salary information easy to access on a state Web page is another step toward government transparency in the wake of the 2010 salary scandal in Bell.
The controller mailed a letter Monday to 58 county offices of education, 949 school districts and 992 charter schools, requesting the information in no later than 90 days.
The website lists the salaries and benefits of employees and elected officials working for the state, counties, cities, special districts and the 23 state university campuses.
Visitors to the site can search the highest salaries in the state, create their own spreadsheets or browse the salaries and benefits of their local officials. Municipalities and districts that fail to provide their information are singled out as being “noncompliant.”
All but four of the state’s community college districts have provided the information, and the University of California system has agreed to provide the data in the spring.
“This leaves K-12 as the only area of public education not represented on the website,” Chiang wrote.
“Together, we can ensure that K-12 does not remain the lone conspicuous outlier.”
The salaries of public employees and elected officials in the state are public record, but placing the information on the controller’s website allows anyone with a computer to easily access the data, rather than being forced to file a public record request.
“By providing objective, uniform data, we can have an informed citizenry that meaningfully engages in community decision-making,” Chiang wrote.
Although their paychecks were supposed to be public information, Bell officials kept their salaries closely guarded, even providing fake documents to residents who tried to find out how much their leaders were earning.
The Bell scandal broke when The Times revealed the extraordinary salaries being paid to administrators and elected leaders in one of Los Angeles County’s poorest cities. The city’s chief administrative officer, Robert Rizzo, was being paid nearly $800,000 a year, with a total compensation package of $1.5 million.
Seven Bell officials have been convicted of corruption charges, including Rizzo, former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia and five council members.
Among the crimes pinned on Rizzo was providing false salary information to a resident who asked for his salary as well as the salary for council members.
Thomas Waldman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest in the state with more than 60,000 employees, said the district would not comment until it received the controller’s letter.
Hallye Jordan, a spokeswoman for Chiang, said state court officials have agreed that their compensation also should be posted, and the controller’s office will be talking to county courts soon to obtain those numbers.
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