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SCHOOLS: Superintendents should share the pain

Letter by Andy Asmussen, Puyallup on Aug. 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm with 36 Comments »
August 30, 2011 12:59 pm

Did you see the story (TNT, 8-29) about Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell retiring so he could give up his regular salary of $250,000 per year and be rehired at the greatly reduced salary of $31,020 per year for the next three years?

Whoa! Makes me wonder what Tony Apostle in Puyallup and Al Jarvis in Tacoma could be thinking right now.

Now I know, while all things being what they are, and not all things being equal (Powell has 195,000 students and 35 school districts to manage; Apostle and Jarvis, not so many), each superintendent has much in similar.

Salaries are slightly different, but all are members of the $200,0000-per-year-plus club. Each is looking forward to retirement real soon.

So I got to thinking about our two local guys. Like maybe them doing something like Powell. You know, like giving back to the communities that gave them jobs that paid them so well – so well that they can both can afford to retire next year.

So how about it, guys? After all, Larry can do it. He says he’s doing it for “his” kids, for their futures. So why not you, too? Do it for our kids, and their tomorrows. What will you leave for them?

Even just a less overly compensated replacement would be nice.

Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. nwcolorist says:

    What are Art Jarvis and Tony Apostle thinking right now?

    I imagine they’re cursing Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell – under their breath, of course.

  2. Great letter! Now, this is a valid thought. Also reducing administrators pay, and cutting administrative positions. This would be a valid position IF this was the Tacoma School Teachers arguement. Unfortunately, they just want to suck the district dry, and get a pay RAISE!

  3. I’m amused and amazed how capitalism is so important….until the job is funded by the taxpayers. Then, they think that the best candidate is the cheapest one.

    The race to the bottom continues….

  4. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    … they think that the best candidate is the cheapest one.

    So… Kardy, you not being one to support such folly, may we assume this was the chief reason for your having voted for 0bama?

    And, by the way, if by ”capitalism” you are referring to those of us in the private sector who believe in free markets, your statement could not have been more fallacious. In the real world across-the-board- lay-offs are a fact of life in a down economy for any business wishing to survive.

    I could not agree more with Andy; there should be no sacred cows when an enterprise is foundering – private or public. And God knows there are no shortage of over-compensated, non-essential management level bureaucrats in all layers of the public sector – especially education.

  5. “In the real world across-the-board- lay-offs are a fact of life in a down economy for any business wishing to survive. ”

    What percentage of the CEOs are taking pay cuts?

  6. When anyone tries to compare business to a government operation (schools) it shows their ignorance of the valid and important differences.
    If we as a nation want our children to be able to compete in the world economy then we better be prepared to value our educators as highly as the leading countries do. We have a long way to go and that includes valuing administrators.

  7. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Somehow I doubt Kardy will appreciate the ”ignorance” label.

  8. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    What percentage of the CEOs are taking pay cuts?

    This was on the first page of a quick search:

    http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=efe670f2-fefd-4f56-92f6-bff2c8868430

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2010-04-02-many-ceos-took-a-pay-cut-in-2009_N.htm

    http://www.next-gen.biz/news/marvelous-executives-take-pay-cuts

    http://www.1up.com/news/iwata-salary-cut-half-3ds-price-drop-explained

    http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2010/09/06/focus1.html

    Now see if you can find an equal number of stories about school superintendents taking pay cuts. (You get a freebee with the first sentence of the letter.)

  9. Tony Apostle: Huge waste of money, been saying it for years to anyone who will listen. Total Pay: 242,703 Insurance Benefits: 23,128 Other Benefits: 18,152
    Total Cost to Puyallup School District: over $280,000. Holy Moly

    Hired as Superintendent on June of 2004. Passed his first Levy in Feb of 2006 and has not passed a bond or levy since. Should have fired him. It is a great thing for the Puyallup School District that he is retiring, still taking another quarter million before he goes though. What a waste.

  10. enotrams says:

    ASSmussen doesn’t have a clue as usual.
    Instead of trying to bring about much needed change to a clearly broken system he just wants to pay public employees less and call it good. Spending less money on administrators won’t improve quality or bring about the real changes our public school systems desperately need.

    Puyallup SD managed to pass its most recent M&O levy despite Apostle’s scare tactics campaign. That levy campaign emphasized a doomsday message about how a levy failure would result in cuts to classroom teachers and bus transportation while Apostle was busy putting those very cuts in place. Community members got a raw deal and a rude awakening.

    It’s no wonder why several bond elections and a tech levy failed during Apostle’s administration given his inability to work with parents, teachers, and students in the community.

    Apostle stubbornly refused to run capital bond measures at any time other than special elections in February or May when voter turnout is clearly at it’s lowest level and he failed miserabally to convince community members of the need to pass those propositions.

    Apostle’s departure and replacement can’t come soon enough despite ASSmussen’s nonsensical suggestion that somehow Apostle should continue working in the same capacity at wages that Tony wouldn’t even pay his gardener.

  11. “Instead of trying to bring about much needed change to a clearly broken system he just wants to pay public employees less and call it good. Spending less money on administrators won’t improve quality or bring about the real changes our public school systems desperately need.”

    Took the words right out of my mouth….

  12. The subhead on “Vox’s” first link….

    It hurts even at the top, with some bosses taking a 50% pay cut. But don’t cry for the guys still making eight figures.

    Whoa is us…..take $10,000,000 instead of $20,000,000????

    I’m sure that there are 1,000s of Public Employee that would appreciate such a dilemma. When the CEO’s make 4/5 to 1 ratios of the mid-management salaries, I’ll be impressed.

  13. From link #2:

    “The median pay of CEOs at large companies last year was $6.6 million based on the value of pay the day it was received, a drop of 18% from 2008″

    Big difference from 50% to 18%……especially in the MILLION dollar brackets.

    Compare a school superintendent at $250K to a $6.6 million CEO…..

    26+ times differential.

    Now maybe that CEO has something important to do like oversee a fast food franchise from a golf course, as opposed to being responsible for a public school district…….

  14. LOL, only Kardnose would think a superintendant was ANYTHING like a CEO. A CEO is responsible for running their business in a PROFITABLE manner, firing incompetent and lazy employees(whether directly or through their management chain), evaluating the performance of the employee, rewarding those who are meeting and exceeding goals, while encouraging and ultimately letting others go(if they can’t get up to standards).

    Jarvis’ ideas are to run the district more like a successful business. The unions position is that as long as I’ve taken some more classes, the longer I’ve been her, the more secure my job is. One of the large sticking points is the district wanting to have an actual evaluation of teachers. The system is broken, money has continually been thrown at the problem, and our educational system is more and more broken. Radical changes are needed; like an evaluation system for teacher perormance, the ability for a principal to dole out pay raises to deserving teachers, and get rid of the perennial horrible teachers that are protected by their unions at present.

  15. TMell – see how long a Superintendent would last if he ran a district into debt. Now, remember the success of George Bush as a CEO in the business world.

  16. Tmell….how do you evaluate a teacher?

  17. “evaluating the performance of the employee, rewarding those who are meeting and exceeding goals, while encouraging and ultimately letting others go(if they can’t get up to standards).”

    The CEO’s favorite escape……’it was HIS/HER fault”

  18. Since my father was a wallpapering artist…and I know how much LF likes to whine….

    TEACHER EVALUATION –

    In the 1960s, I took two choral music courses in the Jr and Sr year. The teacher was one of my favorites, although disliked by over 50% of the class who were seeking an easy grade. He made us work inside and outside the classroom (you could do that in the 1960s). I headed for college to become a music teacher.

    College was more than I was ready for and there were more teachers than jobs, so I switched gears and went to work in newspapers – where I remained in one way or another – for most of my career.

    During my entire adult life, I’ve been a performer and made a lot of money in music.

    QUESTION – how could someone evaluate this teacher? (not to mention that Conservatives think that music isn’t necessary)

  19. itwasntmethistime says:

    KARD — Conservatives do like music, and my high school band teacher was a real d**kh#$d. What’s your point?

  20. itwasn’t……all you have to do is read the comments on these forums to see that Conservatives consider music in schools to be unnecessary and shouldn’t be available. That’s my point.

  21. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Kard, while your cute little jab at Bush actually proves your line of reasoning false, I agree that math, science, and English should be prioritized over music.

  22. LarryFine says:

    “give up his regular salary of $250,000 per year and be rehired at the greatly reduced salary of $31,020 per year for the next three years?”

    Isn’t that called ‘double dipping’? collecting your retirement AND an additional paycheck ?

    I’m not taking sides, just asking a simple question …

  23. commoncents says:

    LF – If it was a private sector employer plan covered by ERISA then it likely wouldn’t be allowed…certainly wouldn’t have been publicized as the DOL wouldn’t like it much. It happens though…generally in a case of extreme hardship where people take their 401k’s and/or pensions and then are immediately hired back after the distribution takes place. They double covered themselves by hiring him back in a completely different position. So not really an issue.

  24. concerned……JAB???? Nope. Truth. Bush failed miserably at being a business CEO and was rewarded by being elected president (sort of).

    I love to demonstrate how Conservatives feather their own beds as they seek to behead public employees. Had a superintendent of schools had Bush’s track record for failure, they would have been fired.

    Bush DID make money with the Texas Rangers – on the backs of the taxpayers, though. Not everyone can pull off that trick.

  25. concerned – English, math and science are requirements in public schools. Music isn’t. Therefore they DO get priority.

    Now, if we can just keep the Conservatives from turning science into religion and re-writing history to suit their ideology…..

  26. On the letter……Powell is also donating the $31,500 to charity, thus working for nothing to make better things for his community.

    Tell me of one CEO that has given his salary to a school district and charity and worked for nothing.

    Hell, they complain about paying “too much in taxes”….

  27. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    KARDNOS says:

    TMell – see how long a Superintendent would last if he ran a district into debt.

    Probably longer than a CEO would. And both would get the golden boot.

    Now, remember the success of George Bush as a CEO in the business world.

    Okay, I’ll follow the tangent:

    Abraham Lincoln’s first business as the owner of a dry goods store was a flop. He was later appointed postmaster in his township and had the worst efficiency record in the United States.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt began his career in public service after flunking out of Columbia Law School. He then decided to run for governor of New York.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower was rejected three times for command positions before being appointed Supreme Allied Commander in 1942.

    Harry Truman opened a hat and shirt shop at age 35 that went bankrupt after just two years. Truman worked 15 years to pay off the debt.

    And while GW Bush did not have the most successful of private sector business careers, he – along with the forgoing (less FDR) – has (amongst many others) one huge advantage over 0bama; experience. You should know, Kardy, failure is opportunity in disguise… but first one must first actually risk SOMETHING in order to reap the benefits of experience – good or bad.

    Remind me again; exactly what had the blamer-in-chief successfully accomplished prior to being handed a Senate seat?

    New bumper sticker:

    0bama 2012: Blame You Can Believe In

  28. “Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:
    August 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm
    KARDNOS says:

    TMell – see how long a Superintendent would last if he ran a district into debt.

    Probably longer than a CEO would. And both would get the golden boot.”

    One word debunk – BUSH

  29. Oh…geez…I jumped too quickly….

    Bush’s failures were experience for President????

    Perfectly on target! He took that experience and applied it to the county…..doubled the deficit.

    Conservatives are still trying to play like Obama’s acknowledgement of Bush’s activities is wrong. Facts are facts…..regardless of if you like them or not.

    Even rational republicans – few and far between – are not too far gone to admit that Obama was handed a pile of poop.

  30. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Kard- are you embarrassed with all of the blame and excuses?

  31. theglovesRoff says:

    Then BHO took that said pile of poop and proceeded to take a spatula and smear it all over the place and triple the pile of said poop.

    Get over it, the dude is in too deep, and you are the foot soldier to try to convince people otherwise.

    “Hope and Change”……..

  32. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Poor Kardy, still hangin’ on to the old can’t fail or succeed if you don’t try mantra – despite having admittedly failed at two careers (at least).

  33. itwasntmethistime says:

    KARD — I’m a conservative and I think music should be taught in school, as well as art and home ec. Kids do better when they mix work and play. No time for an art class because of the double math you have to take to pass the high-stakes test? Try cracking a book at home once in a while and your school day won’t be so tedious.

  34. KARDNOS says:

    itwasn’t…..thanks for demonstrating that there are still Conservatives that haven’t gone over the edge.

  35. Vox – what would you call someone who does not believe in giving government money to supposdly profitable private businesses?

  36. itwasntmethistime says:

    KARD — If you’re being snarky I’m missing it — I think you just wrote something nice. First time for everything!

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