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Why Do CUSD Administrators Keep Quitting?

Parents want to know. The answer is really simple.

The Coastside values City Clerks more than School Principals. Consider that in order to even apply to be a Principal, one has to have Masters Degree and five years of teaching in a classroom. Bilingual would be nice too.

How much are we willing to pay for somebody who has earned a Masters Degree, is bilingual, and has 5 years in the field proving they know their stuff?

Just under 141,000 dollars per year plus benefits.

In 2013, the Half Moon Bay City Clerk made over 130,000 dollars and received benefits in access of 22,000 dollars. My guess is that the City Clerk makes a bit more than in 2013.

Web Link

The point is that our City Clerk is the best dang City Clerk your money can buy. This opinion is universally shared by everybody that has ever dealt with our City Clerk.

So, if you want the best Principal and you want the best Principal to stick around, you are going to have to pay your Principal at least as much as you pay your City Clerk. Probably a little bit more if you want a bilingual professional with a Masters who has survived 5 years in the trenches.


Comments

I haven't kept up with the Superintendent's compensation for some time now, but I remember one Super, from 1990-1992 that was pulling over $150K per year in comp, not including her perks - monthly BMW car payments, cell phone payments and more. Her name was Jane Martin and she lived in Santa Cruz. We covered all her travel under perks. She was a piece of work, that one.

Are you sure of your numbers on the superintendent Dan?


Nope. don't know what they pay the Superintendent.

Notice that my numbers deal with the Principal is paid and yes, I am sure:

Web Link


Looks like I need to work on my reading and comprehension skills. I have zero response to my apparent confusion between a Principal and a Superintendent.

Maybe another cup of coffee might help me.

Sorry Dan.

But now that it's 'out there', I wonder what the comp package is for the Superintendent. What is the District paying the incoming Superintendent? As the lead administrator for the District, which has about 3300 students (vs 11,000+ HMB residents, for example), and the liaison between the Board and all six Principals, one has to wonder.

A fair comparison might be made between the Superintendent and the HMB City Manager, both in terms of job description and responsibilities and their compensation.

"Just under 141,000 dollars per year plus benefits" is not a bad number, imho, for the job of Principal.The benefit package that come with the job is a pretty nice one, too.

I would also remind anyone interested that roughly 89% of the CUSD Budget goes to personnel. That doesn't leave a lot on the table to work with.


My mom taught in public schools for years. Not trying to brag, but she was one of those very well liked and sought after teachers. She poured her heart and soul into the kids she had. She could have expended one tenth the effort and maintained the exact same pay.

Education is one of those careers that in many ways defies the basic logic of the free market. Compensation will always play a role in the quality of staff, but it is passion that makes the real difference. The great educators I had as I made my way through public school here were what they were because of who they were and not how much they were paid.

Passion requires support. Support from staff, support from the school board, and most of all from the community. This support builds the positive working conditions and learning environment that makes teachers and administrators say "I want to work for CUSD, even if I could make a little more somewhere else."

When I talk to my mom about what kept her teaching, even when it meant sacrifice in her own life, I hear about great students and caring parents and supportive staff.

Just my two sense. Sorry for the length.

Oh, and teachers are heroes.


I should add that teachers and administrators in our public schools deserve better compensation. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. I hope that was clear. With very few exceptions, they are ridiculously underpaid for the value of their work and the trust that we collectively place in them.


We should pay them at least as much as our City Clerk gets paid.


While the compensation is important, it's not everything. Most of us who are or have been in these kinds of professions aren't doing it to get rich, we're doing it because we love what we do.

CUSD has had many administrators in recent years coming in from outside the area. They stay a year or two, then leave. They knew what the pay was before coming here.

There is more to it than just money. Something is very wrong in our district and it's heartbreaking that it isn't being identified and addressed.


I just love people in HMB who think that HMB is the whole universe. It's not the "HMB Unified School District."

CUSD serves HMB's 11,000 residents and the unincorporated Midcoast's 12,000 residents and some of the surrounding areas maybe another 1000 or 2000 residents for a total of around 25,000 more or less.


True but there is no Coastside Clerk whose salary can be compared to the Coastside's Principal.


There is no Coastside Principal. Each school has a principal. The CUSD has a superintendent who is essentially the General Manager, so maybe you could compare that to the Sewer Authority (SAM) GM, serving most of the residents of CUSD. Or possibly the Fire Chief since the fire district probably serves roughly the same area as CUSD, although with it contracted out to CALFIRE, I'm not sure how comparable it is. In a stand-alone district the fire chief is their GM.


Alright, even though I think I disagree with the stated premise, I'd like to take a shot at sorting this out. The numbers I'll go with arte the ones presented and the acceptable norm for the others.

Dan, you state that a Principal employed by the CUSD, which has six (6) schools, is "Just under 141,000 dollars per year plus benefits." What you neglect to clarify is the value of those benefits.

It used to be salary + 20% was standard. That standard has changed over the years. It is now fairly commonplace to add 35% to the salary of an administrator to cover the benefits to complete the compensation package. If we add 35% to $140,000 we get roughly $182,000 as the compensation package for a Principal in the CUSD system. That is a pretty sweet neighborhood, even in the Bay Area.

Your demonstration regarding the City Clerk comes out to $153+K.

I'd say that you got your wish: "We should pay them at least as much as our City Clerk gets paid." What that seems to imply is that an argument you initiated holds no water.

Further, and this is merely my opinion here, but I'd say that your basic premise of comparing a CUSD Principal's comp to the City of HMB's City Clerk is like comparing ... wait ... you know what's coming - apples to elephants.

I'd take it a step further. Based on some of the comments above (Justin & Not Sure specifically), it appears that as long as the compensation is reasonable, those that love what they do are comfortable with it. And further yet, each and every candidate for any position within the CUSD knows well what the comp package is before they even apply for the position, let alone before they are hired.

That then leads one back to the initial (good) question: "Why Do CUSD Administrators Keep Quitting?" Although either I am not intimately informed enough to answer that question, or I don't think I should or I don't know - take your pick, but I can say with some comfort that I don't believe it is over compensation.


Alright, even though I think I disagree with the stated premise, I'd like to take a shot at sorting this out. The numbers I'll go with arte the ones presented and the acceptable norm for the others.

Dan, you state that a Principal employed by the CUSD, which has six (6) schools, is "Just under 141,000 dollars per year plus benefits." What you neglect to clarify is the value of those benefits.

It used to be salary + 20% was standard. That standard has changed over the years. It is now fairly commonplace to add 35% to the salary of an administrator to cover the benefits to complete the compensation package. If we add 35% to $140,000 we get roughly $182,000 as the compensation package for a Principal in the CUSD system. That is a pretty sweet neighborhood, even in the Bay Area.

Your demonstration regarding the City Clerk comes out to $153+K.

I'd say that you got your wish: "We should pay them at least as much as our City Clerk gets paid." What that seems to imply is that an argument you initiated holds no water.

Further, and this is merely my opinion here, but I'd say that your basic premise of comparing a CUSD Principal's comp to the City of HMB's City Clerk is like comparing ... wait ... you know what's coming - apples to elephants.

I'd take it a step further. Based on some of the comments above (Justin & Not Sure specifically), it appears that as long as the compensation is reasonable, those that love what they do are comfortable with it. And further yet, each and every candidate for any position within the CUSD knows well what the comp package is before they even apply for the position, let alone before they are hired.

That then leads one back to the initial (good) question: "Why Do CUSD Administrators Keep Quitting?" Although either I am not intimately informed enough to answer that question, or I don't think I should or I don't know - take your pick, but I can say with some comfort that I don't believe it is over compensation.


Alright, even though I think I disagree with the stated premise, I'd like to take a shot at sorting this out. The numbers I'll go with arte the ones presented and the acceptable norm for the others.

Dan, you state that a Principal employed by the CUSD, which has six (6) schools, is "Just under 141,000 dollars per year plus benefits." What you neglect to clarify is the value of those benefits.

It used to be salary + 20% was standard. That standard has changed over the years. It is now fairly commonplace to add 35% to the salary of an administrator to cover the benefits to complete the compensation package. If we add 35% to $140,000 we get roughly $182,000 as the compensation package for a Principal in the CUSD system. That is a pretty sweet neighborhood, even in the Bay Area.

Your demonstration regarding the City Clerk comes out to $153+K.

I'd say that you got your wish: "We should pay them at least as much as our City Clerk gets paid." What that seems to imply is that an argument you initiated holds no water.

Further, and this is merely my opinion here, but I'd say that your basic premise of comparing a CUSD Principal's comp to the City of HMB's City Clerk is like comparing ... wait ... you know what's coming - apples to elephants.

I'd take it a step further. Based on some of the comments above (Justin & Not Sure specifically), it appears that as long as the compensation is reasonable, those that love what they do are comfortable with it. And further yet, each and every candidate for any position within the CUSD knows well what the comp package is before they even apply for the position, let alone before they are hired.

That then leads one back to the initial (good) question: "Why Do CUSD Administrators Keep Quitting?" Although either I am not intimately informed enough to answer that question, or I don't think I should or I don't know - take your pick, but I can say with some comfort that I don't believe it is over compensation.


I am so sorry for the repetition. The post wouldn't go through, so I stopped it (thought I did) twice before it went.

I do hate when that happens; so sorry.


George, last I looked, Principals typically only manage one school. I don't understand why there being six schools matters in the context of this story.

What I am saying is that the Coastside Community values Principals who need Masters Degrees, five years in the trenches, and are preferably bilingual about the same as the Community of HMB values City Clerks.

I remember what a pain in the butt my buddies and I were in high school. We made Mr. Briesh earn his pay.

If the argument is that educators are only motivated by professional respect and enhancement vs maxing out their opportunity to make money, paying the same as a City Clerk should be a enough.

If on the other hand you are of the opinion that educators like wealth every bit as much as do the rest of us, it is obvious why we lose good administrators. They can go over the hill and get paid way better than HMB's City Clerk does.

Here, check this out:

Web Link

Yep. I see it too. It seems I fell for somebodies propaganda. The link I found in order to prove George is wrong proves George is right.

Coastside Principals, like most California Principals are paid pretty much the same as is the HMB City Clerk who is the best there has ever been yet stays with our town while Administrators don't.

The CUSD should hire a consultant to figure out how HMB is able to retain the best City Clerk in America East of Francis Beach. They must be doing something right downtown.


OMG!!! I didn't just see Dan propose another consultant, did I? And I thought we were consultant saturated already.

Dan, if you don't mind me saying so - what on Earth are you thinking?!?!?

I would offer that although it may appear your link "proves" one thing or another, I would take a different and closer look; here's why - The Bay Area is one of the most expensive areas in the US and indeed in the world to live. I would be stunned if, comparing to a national average, just about any job didn't surpass the national average.

I'd add that even trying to compare almost any of the listed Districts in your link would be tough because one would want to compare like Districts, so randomly picking a reasonable comparison might provide false or misleading data.

What might be more informative and useful is to compare apples to apples - other Unified School Districts, preferably in the Bay Area, that are of similar stats (school size, number of students, number of support staff, etc).

Seems to me that if one wants to talk about comp comparisons, one would want to be as accurate as possible with mirror (if possible) or close to conditions.

Just my 2 cents; but another consultant? Really Dan? Did you imbibe a few too many cocktails at last night's HD meeting? Feeling it today are we?


Oh, and to HMB's City Clerk? She's the best there is, no question; but she is a rare find. Good Luck trying to duplicate that one.

And she earns every dime!


We should pay them at least as much as our City Clerk gets paid.

We should pay them enough to live where they teach or administrate. San Mateo County is one of the most expensive places to live in the world.


Few people could support a family of four in a three bedroom house on one 9-month salary.

Aren't the Main Street subsidized housing projects prioritized for local teachers, police and firemen etc? (Not that cops need it at $150K+)


Few people could support a family of four in a three bedroom house on one 9-month salary.

Fine. Change the school year to year round and pay teachers a living wage. Kids don't need 3 months off from school.


Agreed about the 3 months off.

Year round school would probably not mean more days teaching for the same salary... or would the CTA agree to it?

>> We should pay them enough to live where they teach or administrate. <<

Living wage definition: "an amount of money you are paid for a job that is large enough to provide you with the basic things (such as food and shelter) needed to live an acceptable life"

Teachers do have a living wage here. Is it enough to support yourself as defined above, or to support yourself and three other people plus buy a house and two cars? Maybe not, but that is typical for others living here too.


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