Tuesday, June 30, 2009

District response intended to mislead the Public

The District continues to dodge the real question that must be asked. Of course, this question can be asked many times and the responses are normally not connected to the question.

The Edmonds School District continues to peddle the argument that their team of assistant superintendents are compensated in a normal, reasonable fashion. However, the question that must be answered is how many assistant superintendents do other districts have? More revealing would be to ask, "How many people in other districts earn more than $100,000.00 per year?" I suspect the result would be rather troubling.

I would never suggest that an assistant superintendent or "deputy" superintendent should not be paid $150,000.00 a year. Yes, it seems rather excessive when you compare such a salary to average salaries within our community, but if this assistant superintendent was a powerful force for educational empowerment and motivated our community to take greater interest in producing great students, I would readily argue that the salary was not high enough.

Part of the responsibility of the Superintendent's Office is to build upon the successes achieved in the classroom and nurture support from the community to strengthen the District's mission. If we had a superintendent that successfully accomplished this goal, with an appropriate number of assistants, that would be newsworthy. Unfortunately, we have assembled a team of six assistants while other districts work with far fewer.

Here are a couple of rather telling documents provided by the Edmonds School District. First, there is a direct comparison (here) with other school districts in our region and the level of compensation provided to their assistant superintendents. Notice the absence of real information, like how many assistants work at these districts. Notice also that Bellevue has no "deputy" superintendent. How is that possible? Based upon the Edmonds model, they should have at least five.

Second, there is a document (here) that reveals the financial impact of having so many assistants, each of them receiving a cost of living increase on an annual basis. If our district had just one assistant superintendent, the financial impact would be significantly less. Unfortunately, we have six assistants. Every couple of years, the COLAs alone would fully fund yet another assistant. Of course, that same series of adjustments could add capacity to the number of teachers.

Third, there is a rather interesting document (here) that illustrates just how many assistants are dining at the trough of public funds. While there may eventually be an initiative to reduce the number of "assistant superintendents", there will never be a downward adjustment in the number of dollars spent on these employees. Titles may change, but salaries will continue to move onward and upward.

How is it possible that so many other districts can survive with so few "assistants" and "deputies"? I have said this many times before and I will mention it once again. During periods of financial challenges, when raises cannot be handed out to upper management, titles are used to make people feel better about themselves. When funding improves, these managers start wondering how people with such powerful titles can be earning so little - raises come flooding in. These raises come at a direct cost in the number of teachers, paraeducators and librarians.

Make no mistake, it is a club and until our community is prepared to address the senseless gluttony demonstrated by these bloated salaries, we will continue to struggle financially.


Anonymous said...

According to this database, Bellevue has four assistant/deputy superintendents.

Anonymous said...

And they earn less than $120K. Must be dated information.

Great database. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What additional responsibilities were added to Debby Carter to support an increase of $30,000.00 a year. Only her title changed.

Anonymous said...

Andy Stern called, and says it's Susan Phillps all the way. He would also like to know if Mark Zanberg would accept $100,000.00 on behalf of SEIU, hoping that Mark will join the fight to continue to suppress SEIU members. This will help pave the way for a future assault by the Edmonds School District on it's employees.

ESD15.org said...

The District can only become a better place if we empower staff and put an end to the senseless waste of financial resources and human resources.

While your invitation may be tempting to others, I have no interest in undermining an already weakened part of district staffing.

Transgal said...

It has been said that the sign of a great leader is his ability to delegate, delegate, delegate! Apparently Nick Brossoit has taken this to mean appoint, appoint, appoint until there is little chance that anything illegal can be traced back to him. Role models of "great leaders" such as Nixon, Clinton, Cheney come to mind.

Transgal said...

Does anyone know the real reason Cathy Birdsong (instructed by Nick) is calling an "emergency" meeting with all the bargaining group reps this Wednesday at 10:00AM regarding the EEA's decision to go with Premera ONLY as a medical insurance provider? Is every employee going to be offered only this one option this September because EEA decided that's what they wanted?

Richard Reuther said...

So, here we are in the Dog Days of Summer. People off on vacation, preparing for court, or just ficusing on something else for a while. Nothing posted for nearly 6 weeks here.

This is what officials have hoped for. If they just deny, delay, deny, delay, and deny, people will get frustrated or bored and just go away. As we were told so frequently, "If you don't like it here, you can go somewhere else." They think people have.

They think that they have worn down the opposition. They think that they have weathered the storm. They think they've won.

They don't know that people are still here. Watching. As the old Rolling Stone song says, "Time is on my (our) side."

Anonymous said...

What's the update on Mark running for the school board position? Does he need help and/or money?

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Back in the saddle!