Education administrators making almost $200,000

Teacher says she’s confused about admin. duties
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Some local teachers and residents are upset and confused about the salaries of Placer County Office of Education administrators, including a position that makes more than a similar one in Los Angeles County. Keith Bray, Placer County Office of Education chief of staff, receives an annual base pay of $173,667. In addition, Bray is paid $3,400 for having a professional license, $2,000 in a doctorate stipend, $7,200 for a vehicle allowance, $2,500 for a cabinet stipend and $4,926 in lieu of health benefits. His total annual salary is $193,693. Superintendent Gayle Garbolino-Mojica makes a base pay of $159,134, a cabinet stipend of $1,800, $8,760 in benefits, has a $7,800 annual car allowance and makes $800 every year for holding a master’s degree. Her total annual salary is $178,294. A life insurance policy of $95,000 is included with her perks. Placer County has 16 school districts operating under it. It also includes Sierra Joint Community College and Western Sierra Collegiate Academy. The population of Placer County is about 341,945. In Los Angeles County, the deputy superintendent, the county’s closest comparable position to chief of staff, made $181,000 before he was promoted to interim superintendent. Jon Gundry now makes $212,000 a year plus with a monthly $1,000 car and travel allowance, according to Margo Minecki, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Office of Education. Los Angeles County has 113 districts and other educational entities operating underneath it. The population of Los Angeles County is about 9,862,049. Auburn resident Craig Lechman, who is also the president of Placer Association of Certificated Employees and a special education teacher for the county, said there are obvious concerns about money not being spent on students when there have already been cuts. “We do get concerned when budgets are being reduced in the classroom,” Lechman said. “When you are spending large amounts of money on administration … I think it’s logical to question the amount of money to be spent in areas other than direct services.” Mary Flannigan, who is also a special education teacher for the Placer County Office of Education, said she doesn’t understand how the county can pay almost $200,000 for each position, and said she has been confused about the exact duties of some of the office’s administrators. “What do you do all day to justify that?” Flannigan asked. “There are a lot of directors and people with these job titles where you are like, ‘What the heck (do they do)?’” In Sacramento County, Superintendent Dave Gordon makes $247,130 a year plus an annual deferred compensation contribution of $26,000 that goes into a savings account similar to a 401K. Deputy Superintendent Martin Cavanaugh makes $192,262 annually. Sacramento County has 14 districts operating underneath it including the Los Rios Community College District. The population of Sacramento County is about 1,394,154 In Nevada County, Superintendent of Schools Holly Hermansen makes $117,209 after furloughs with a monthly car allowance of $500 and a cell phone stipend of $75 per month. Associate Superintendent of Business Services Donna Fitting, who is in the closest position comparable to a deputy superintendent or chief of staff, makes $102,558 after furloughs with a monthly cell phone stipend of $50. Nevada County has 10 districts operating under it as well as 13 individual schools and other educational entities. The population of Nevada County is about 97,118. In El Dorado County, Superintendent Vicki Barber makes $172,515 as well as an annual $7,600 travel and expense stipend. Deputy Superintendent Terena Mendonca makes $142,184 as well as an annual $6,000 travel and expense stipend. El Dorado County has 15 districts and two charter schools operating under it. The population of El Dorado County is about 178,447. Garbolino-Mojica said the Placer County Board of Education sets her salary and she thinks it is indicative of the size of the county and how many students there are. “We run close to a $100 million operation, and we employ hundreds of employees and our office has a very important role in public education,” Garbolino-Mojica said. “I ran for this job knowing what the salary might be … and that is the salary the board has decided to pay me.” Garbolino-Mojica said her position requires a lot of education and experience. “My main responsibility is to oversee the districts’ budgets in the County of Placer,” she said. Gordon said an office of education provides services to its districts including programs in special education, training and technical assistance. They also handle inter-district transfer appeals, expulsion appeals and keep track of educator credentials. Monitoring district finances is a large part of what the office does. Bray was out of the office on medical leave as of press time, and Garbolino-Mojica said she wasn’t sure when he would be back. Lechman said because he doesn’t know any differently, he would always hope Garbolino-Mojica is doing the best job she can. Auburn resident Mary Chaussee said she thinks the board should re-examine the salaries of administrators. “I think the money could be spent (in) a lot better (ways) on education purposes than put in somebody’s pocket,” Chaussee said. “That’s a lot of money that could be used in really good ways to help our children.” Reach Bridget Jones at