Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Prompted by public outcry into Los Angeles area Centinela Valley School District’s extreme 2013 Superintendent compensation of $633,000.00 that included a $910,000.00 mortgage at half market rate and a million dollar fully funded whole life insurance policy California Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, who chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on education Finance, said Assembly Bill 2710 would ensure greater transparency and accountability, in part by requiring all local school districts to post the employment contracts of their superintendents online.
Al stated “School districts should be spending taxpayer dollars on the kids, not on excessive administrator paychecks. While the vast majority of school administrators are honest, hardworking educators, I want to set up a system so that we can prevent abuse and ensure greater transparency and accountability in school districts throughout the state.”
“[T]he potential downside of giving more discretion to local school districts,” Al said of Fernandez’s compensation package. “We need to make sure we have the checks and balances in place so that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.”
Specifically, Al’s bill has four main components. It would:
- Require county offices of education to review local superintendents’ compensation on an annual basis.
- Require a school district to post its superintendent’s employment contract and information on school district finances on its website.
- Require school board members to receive training on ethics and governance.
- Restrict school districts from providing low-interest home loans such as that provided by the Centinela Valley Union High School District to its superintendent.
It should come as no surprise legislation such as this would come about as a result of the excesses of this school district’s board members. It also shows that a greater need for transparency is always incumbent upon government in general to earn the trust of the public. But, it is also a sense of the shortcomings derived from voter apathy that might cause most of the transparency to fall into irrelevance. While Governor Brown has been successful in pushing to a more locally controlled school district administrations and operations, the actions of the Centinela Valley School Board show that state oversight of finances is going to remain paramount.
By Darren Smith
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