Monday, September 29, 2008

LAUSD $ALARIES: A TWO-PART SERIES: Three Background Sidebars and a (pathetic) Editorial Apologia

SEARCH: LAUSD Salaries Database

  • PART 1 - LAUSD administration swells 20 percent from 2001 to 2007
  • PART 2 - Despite cutbacks, students thrive at Cleveland High in Reseda
  • ▼  Beaudry building in downtown L.A. a pricey place for LAUSD personnel  ▼
  • ▼  How does the LAUSD compare on salaries?   ▼
  • UTLA members threatening a strike
  • ▼  Gathering the information on LAUSD salary review was a step-by-step process  ▼
  • ▼  Fairness played a key role in publishing LAUSD salaries
    EDITORIAL: Administrative bloat

    VIDEO: Cleveland High secures accreditation

    On Sunday the Daily News published a database containing the names, job descriptions and salaries of every LAUSD employee. 4LAKids supports Openness, Oversight, Accountability and Sunshine - but abhors this violation of employee privacy. Attorneys, media ethicists and hand-wringing editorial boards have agonized over this and have bravely done the wrong thing because it was legal …and because it might sell papers+advertising.
    The DN in the past has led a charge against supposedly overcompensated District consultants and contractors. Those workers remain beyond the curtain - their contracts and remuneration undisclosed.
    The public has not been served. There is no upside to the teachers at a school knowing what all the other teachers make in salary. There is no upside to the parents at a school knowing which teacher makes more or less money than their child's teacher. This information could've been shared without naming names. I am human: of course I have looked up the names of those I consider to be the most incompetent bureaucrats in LAUSD to see what the going rate for supreme incompetence is these days. And it is a sad number compared to what excellence and diligence pays …or the going rate for promise. Life is not fair; I already knew that.
    If I subscribed to the DN (I don't) I'd cancel my subscription.
    Make you feelings known: Send your responses to DN Executive Editor Carolina Garcia (salary unknown) or call 818-713-3719
    - smf

    Beaudry building in downtown L.A. a pricey place for LAUSD personnel

    By Justino Aguila and Beth Barrett, Staff Writers | LA Daily News

    Article Last Updated: 09/28/2008 12:50:58 AM PDT

    Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters at 333 South Beaudry Ave in Los Angeles, Ca. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

    The views from atop Los Angeles Unified School District's downtown headquarters are sweeping: Disney Hall, the Music Center complex, iconic high-rise buildings that make up the L.A. skyline.

    Inside the 29-story building, more than 3,400 employees filter through LAUSD's main offices every week. The triangular, 928,000-square-foot tower at 333 S. Beaudry Ave. had historically been difficult to lease while owned by Bank of America. It was purchased and renovated by LAUSD in 2001 for $154 million.

    But even today, according to a top LAUSD official, the building seems too ostentatious in light of budget cuts and other financial issues the country's second-largest public school district is grappling with.

    "This is not a good central office," concedes Senior Deputy Superintendent Ramon Cortines. "It's not inviting to parents and the community. Parking is atrocious; getting here is atrocious."

    LAUSD executives declined a Daily News request to videotape and photograph a tour inside the public building, saying it would be too much of a distraction for workers, according to Stephanie Brady, a district representative.

    But Superintendent David Brewer III maintained that Beaudry should not be viewed as a typical corporate building, saying it lacks the granite, fine wood and other trappings of some of downtown's more grandiose skyscrapers.

    "It's pretty austere," Brewer said, adding that his own offices are adequate.

    He said that while $154 million might seem pricey for the purchase and rehabilitation of the building, it is far less than the cost of leasing space downtown for all of the district's administrators and support staff.

    Brewer said he hopes the building eventually will come to be seen as a symbol of efficiency as he reduces the size of the central administration and consolidates leased space at other downtown locations into Beaudry.

    "It will be a symbol of success versus a symbol of bureaucracy. We'll consolidate all in one and save a fortune, and that's the ultimate in decentralization."

    How does the LAUSD compare on salaries?

    By George B. Sanchez, Staff Writer | LA Daily News

    Article Last Updated: 09/28/2008 12:52:15 AM PDT

    Even though LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the country, Superintendent David Brewer III and Senior Deputy Superintendent Ray Cortines make more than their peers at the nation's largest public school system.

    Meanwhile, Los Angeles Unified teachers on average earn $63,000, less than teachers in districts ranging from New York City and San Diego to Chicago and San Francisco.

    While direct comparisons are difficult because of varying positions and structures, the Daily News focused on five districts across the country that came close to LAUSD in size and demographics. LAUSD has nearly 900 schools and more than 650,000 students.

    The districts didn't always have positions with similar titles, so positions were compared based on job descriptions.

    The Daily News' comparison found Brewer and Cortines each earn $50,000 more than the heads of education in New York City, which has 1.1 million students and is the largest school system in the country.

    Cortines, who earns $250,000, is LAUSD's second highest-paid employee and his position is relatively rare in other districts.

    Of the five districts examined by the Daily News, only the New York City Department of Education has a comparable position. That post, deputy chancellor for teaching and learning, pays $200,000 annually.

    Earlier this month, the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education voted to reinstate a deputy superintendent after previously eliminating the position.

    LAUSD's chief financial officer and chief human relations officer also earn more than their counterparts in other districts.

    David Holmquist, LAUSD's chief operating officer, said it's not surprising that LAUSD teachers make less than those in other districts.

    "Basically, other states fund education at a much higher rate than us," he said. "Eighty-five percent of our budget goes to people. If we're (funded) low to begin with, our employees are going to make less."

    Still, San Francisco high school teachers earn an average $75,817 a year and San Jose high school teachers earn an average $73,361 a year. LAUSD high school teachers have an average salary of just under $62,000.

    Salaries for LAUSD teachers are based on level of education and experience as well as contractual agreements.

    A.J. Duffy, head of United Teachers Los Angeles, says the disparities even within California prove what the LAUSD teachers' union has claimed all along. "This clearly shows how the system couldn't care less about teachers," Duffy said.

    Gathering the information on LAUSD salary review was a step-by-step process

    By Beth Barrett, Staff Writer| LA Daily News

    Article Last Updated: 09/28/2008 12:50:23 AM PDT

    The Daily News obtained Los Angeles Unified School District's salaries database under the California Public Records Act in an effort to better understand the district's staffing and salary costs as it faces budget cuts.

    The Daily News requested the database June 2. The district consulted an outside attorney, who concurred the information was public. The Daily News received the 154,037-record database July 25 for all employees who received 2007 W-2s.

    The Daily News analyzed the data by removing retirees who are receiving residual payments and consolidating all employees with multiple jobs into single entries.

    That resulted in 107,587 employee salaries, including part-time workers and substitute teachers.

    The database can be accessed at and is searchable by name, job title and salary range. The Daily News is not disclosing employees' exact work locations out of safety considerations.

    Because the database reflects a single point in time, it likely includes some employees who have since left the district and excludes some who have been hired since the data was provided.

    The Daily News worked with district officials to determine current 2008 salaries for employees with a single job, reflecting the salary step they were at when the database was produced.

    For employees who may also teach summer school or have other district jobs, the database reflects actual pay for 2007. Such cases are indicated with an asterisk, noting actual pay includes salary as well as other differentials such as extra pay for advanced degrees or bilingual skills. For teachers, these are their annual salaries, not just for the school year.

    In a few cases, employees' 2007 pay may appear lower than their pay grade. In those cases, it may be the employee retired or worked only part of a year.

    District officials this month identified cases where some teachers' salaries in the database reflected overpayments as the result of widely publicized problems with the district's payroll system last year, and they corrected them for the Daily News.

    Fairness played a key role in publishing LAUSD salaries

    Carolina Garcia, executive editor | Daily News

    Article Last Updated: 09/28/2008 12:52:41 AM PDT

    Today, the Los Angeles Daily News kicks off a two-day analysis of the Los Angeles Unified School District that shows a shrinking student body, shrinking teacher base, but growing bureaucracy and a wide disparity in pay between teachers and administrators. In order to highlight that disparity, we decided to make available online the names and salaries of every LAUSD employee.

    In the days prior to this story being published, we heard from many teachers who feel that their privacy is being violated, and who asked us to not publish their names and salaries. While we have enormous respect for teachers, and understand their concerns, we believe that we should treat every LAUSD employee equally. The Daily News did the same in previous examinations of other public employees, and this report is part of our continuing effort to provide the public with information about how its tax dollars are being spent.

    We believe reports such as these will make government - including school officials - more responsible and more accountable to the citizens it serves.

    Send your responses to or call 818-713-3719.


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