San Lorenzo Express News

San Lorenzo School Chief Gets Pay Hike to $182,000

DECEMBER 21, 2001

Parents, students, teachers, and union employees of the San Lorenzo Unified School District filled the room at the school board's meeting Tuesday to protest hefty pay raises for the district's four administrators. The district's union employees, who received an annual pay increase of 1.5 percent, learned recently that the district's senior administrators received increases of 14 to more than 18 percent.

At last night's meeting the school board voted unanimously to approve new contracts with employees of the district's three unions:

Leaders of the three unions protested the disparity between increases for union employees and those for senior administrators. The salary for the district's superintendent, Janis Duran, goes from $154,000 to $182,000, an 18.2 percent raise. Increases for assistant and associate superintendents average 14 percent. Contracts for the administrators were approved by the school board in July and August.

Senior administrators also receive extra benefits, in addition to their salary. For example, Superintendent Duran gets $600 each month for transportation.

Union leaders said they have gone along with staff cuts, greater work loads, and smaller wage increases because they were told last spring that the school district was financially strapped. Since employees learned of the superintendents' raises they have become disillusioned and angry, said John Kelley, vice president of the San Lorenzo Employees Association.

"We would do anything for the kids," said employee Greg Olsen. "We work extra hours, we donate materials, we drive kids on field trips, and when they told us the kids' education and safety were at risk, we were even willing to take less money than we deserved. But to find out that they used the kids as a negotiating ploy to get more for themselves is a tough pill to swallow."

Cindy Ornelas, another employee, said: "Much trust has been lost, and we have long memories."

Parent Wendy Tipton asked, "How can they live with themselves when they look out into this crowd and see committed workers who can't feed their families?"

"They may have dodged us tonight," said parent Edwin Caraballo, "but we will not let this die."

Sources: Based in part on reports in the Daily Review and San Leandro Times