Oakland Post Article: School District Leaders Earn Top Pay

School District Leaders Earn Top Pay

By Ken Epstein

Teachers and others in the school community are complaining that Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Antwan Wilson’s administration is top-heavy with highly paid new administrators who had worked in Denver, CO public schools.

<p>Wilson, formerly an assistant superintendent of Denver schools, earns $280,000 a year plus benefits. In addition, he received a $28,000 moving allowance and an additional payment for six months of temporary housing while he looks for a new home, as well as reimbursement for his legal expenses for negotiating his contract with the district.The price of benefits generally adds more than one-third to the cost of an employee’s’ annual salary.

Troy Flint, the school district’s spokesman, told the Post that he is working on gathering the information on the amounts Supt. Wilson is being paid for temporary housing and for his legal expenses.

Administrative salaries frequently become a major issue during contract negotiations between school districts and teachers’ unions, especially in Oakland where teacher pay is the lowest in the Bay Area.

Oakland’s two previous top executives were Gary Yee, acting superintendent who earned $250,000 a year; and Tony Smith, who was formerly a superintendent in Emeryville, earned $265,000 a year when he left the district.

Also from Denver, Chief of Schools Allen Smith earns $175,000 and received $15,000 for moving expenses.

Yana Smith, Chief of Organizational Effectiveness & Culture, Allen Smith’s wife, is earning $155,000 and $12,500 for moving costs.

Devin Dillon, Chief Academic Officer, Office of the Superintendent, is earning $175,000 plus $11,000 for moving.

Bernard McCune, Deputy Chief of the Office of Post-Secondary Readiness, earns $157,000 a year plus $17,000 for moving costs.

Ray Mondragon, deputy chief academic of early childhood learning, is earning $157,000. The position is grant funded.

A number of these positions are newly created and supplement existing top administrators in the district.

Other new officials include Isaac Kos-Read, chief of Communications and Public Affairs, who earns $192,000. He previously worked as director of External affairs at the Port of Oakland and was a public affairs consultant for the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

His position is paid by the Oakland Public Education Fund, which has an office in the school district headquarters.

According to Flint, the district’s spokesman, Kos-Read plays a crucial role at the school district.

“Isaac brings substantial experience and expertise in Public Affairs and Communications, areas where the District has suffered from lack of capacity for years,” he said. “The marginal benefits of adding someone of Isaac’s talents yields benefits far beyond the cost in terms of increased ability to interact with diverse stakeholder groups, identify community concerns, and deal with those issues effectively.”


Bargaining Update from OEA February 24, 2015

OEA Bargaining Update

February 24, 2015

On February 24, 2015 the OEA and OUSD bargaining teams met.

The OUSD bargaining team presented a package proposal to your OEA team in response to our package proposal presented on February 10th, 2015.

In summary, the only change from the district’s prior package is in Article 24:  Compensation.  They are now offering 0.5% more for 2015-2016 bringing their offer from 3.0% to 3.5% beginning January 1, 2016.

Both teams felt a bit stuck in the process that we have been engaging in so far. We also agreed that we are not ready to call it quits. In an effort to move forward from this point, both teams agreed to engage in a different process at the table. Rather than “taking turns” on presenting proposals and waiting for the other side to make movement, we will attempt to co-construct proposals in areas where we feel stuck. Ideas and options will be generated to examine each party’s interests on key articles, and areas of concern will be tackled with the goal of reaching contractual solutions.

Officially, these conversations will be non-binding, parties will preserve their prior (pre-package) positions and proposals, and parties may still opt to present counter proposals. 

Both teams also agreed that in order to create a safe climate where risk taking and candid and courageous conversations can occur what is postulated would remain confidential. Information will be made public as soon as either side makes a formal proposal or when any agreement is reached on an article.

Both parties have made a serious commitment of time by scheduling more sessions both during the week and on the weekend:

March 9th and 10th

March 22nd, 23rd, and 24th

April 19th, 20th, and 21st

May 12th and May 26th

More sessions may be scheduled for the month of May after an assessment of progress in March.

OEA Contract Article 12 and Teacher Seniority Rights – piece in East Bay Express

The Battle Over Teachers’ Seniority Rights

Oakland Unified’s push to overhaul teacher seniority rights has sparked an intense contract dispute.
By Sam Levin @SamTLevin


In recent weeks, teachers at more than twenty public schools in Oakland have cut back the hours they spend on the job in an effort to advocate for a better contract. Through this so-called “work-to-rule” protest — in which instructors work the minimum required hours and skip typical after-school labor, such as curriculum development — the teachers’ union has drawn attention to its ongoing fight with the district. At tense school board meetings and in news stories on work-to-rule, teachers have spoken out about the importance of securing meaningful salary increases and the need for smaller class sizes.

But while wages and student-to-teacher ratios are critical components of the negotiations, it’s the fight over a relatively more obscure part of the contract that has recently caused intense friction between the union and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). The district’s proposal to scale back seniority rights in teacher transfers has deepened teachers’ distrust in new Superintendent Antwan Wilson — and could be the issue that ultimately leads to an impasse in negotiations or even a strike.

Wilson and district officials, who are currently negotiating a three-year contract with the union, have proposed a substantial overhaul to Article 12, a policy that governs how OUSD fills vacancies and reassigns teachers when their positions are eliminated due to declining enrollment, budget cuts, or school closures. Currently, when teachers have to transfer schools due to factors outside of their control, they apply to fill vacant positions within the district and school principals must honor their requests in order of seniority. That means teachers with the most experience in OUSD receive their first choices, and principals can’t fill positions with newer teachers or outside candidates until instructors who have been forced to transfer get new assignments.

The district’s proposed rewrite of Article 12, a copy of which was obtained by the Express, would largely eliminate the role of seniority in this process so that schools would consider all candidates applying to fill vacancies regardless of the number of years they’ve worked in the district. Additionally, reassigned teachers would have to compete with outside candidates for the open positions.

The district has proposed establishing school “personnel committees” that would be responsible for reviewing applicants and making hiring recommendations to the principal. The committees would have a maximum of seven members, and the majority of the members would be on-site teachers. However, the principal would make the final decision on hiring. If teachers don’t receive job assignments through that process, the district would place them in instructional support roles, such as substitute teaching or curriculum development.
“This is personally very upsetting to me,” Trish Gorham, president of the Oakland Education Association (the union), said in an interview. Unlike previous negotiations, this round of bargaining had been mostly respectful and productive — until the district presented its Article 12 proposal, she said. “With this potential impact on labor rights … it’s a great disappointment.”

District officials argue that the proposal would significantly expand the role that school communities play in the process of hiring teachers through the establishment of the personnel committees, which could include parents and students. Unlike the current seniority-driven process, the proposed overhaul of Article 12 would help ensure that the teachers who are most suited for specific positions ultimately get the job, supporters say. “This isn’t about eliminating teachers. They are going to be working in the district somewhere,” said Troy Flint, OUSD spokesperson. “It’s about finding the right match. … More than anything, the focus is on student needs.”

Jody London, a school board member who represents North Oakland, added: “I know of no other industry where the only criteria [in hiring] … is whether you have more years on the job than another applicant.”

Opponents, however, argue that the district’s proposal constitutes a major threat to teachers’ job security and that the district could use this rewritten Article 12 to push out teachers for unfair reasons. They also argue that the current system doesn’t need to be reformed.

The fight over seniority comes at a time in which tensions between OUSD leadership and teachers have been intensifying. Much of the conflict centers on the district’s new “Intensive Support Schools Initiative,” a controversial effort to turn around five low-performing schools in the district. Wilson, who was hired as superintendent by the school board last summer, put out a request for proposals to redesign those schools — inviting both current leaders at the sites and outside charter school organizations to submit proposals. Some fear the process could threaten the jobs of teachers at those sites by encouraging takeovers by charters, which aren’t part of the union (see “A New Era for Charter Schools?” 1/21/15).

This turnaround initiative, which teachers first learned about in December, has raised new concerns about the district’s intentions with Article 12 — a proposal that Gorham said came as a surprise when OUSD presented it for the first time in November after months of bargaining. With the district simultaneously working to overhaul five schools and reform the process of teacher placements during school restructurings, teachers said it seemed clear that OUSD had a concerted agenda to strip away teachers’ seniority rights.

While teachers throughout Oakland agree on the need for a substantial salary increase — OUSD pay ranks among the lowest in the country, when considering cost-of-living — Article 12 has sparked some internal debate. Vilma Serrano, a transitional kindergarten teacher at Melrose Leadership Academy, a dual language school in Maxwell Park, told me that she has heard from teachers who said they would be willing to strike if the district doesn’t budge on Article 12 — while others have said they would consider crossing the picket line if the union striked for that reason.

As a teacher in her third year at OUSD, Serrano said she could initially see the appeal of the district’s proposal, which could benefit her if she had to compete with a more senior teacher during a transfer process. But she said she ultimately came to the conclusion that the Article 12 proposal was a bad idea. “We need to think about ways to make this into a sustainable profession,” she said. “This really does seem to be aligned with what’s going on at those five schools and … destabilizing teachers’ rights and teacher job security in Oakland.”

In interviews, teachers and parents across the district expressed differing opinions about the Article 12 proposal. Marijke Conklin, a first-grade teacher at Melrose — whose teachers have adopted the work-to-rule tactic — said it’s critical that teachers maintain protections tied to seniority, saying, “I’m a strong believer that teaching experience makes a huge difference in the classroom.” But she said she believes there is room to increase flexibility in the hiring process so that seniority is not the sole determining factor. “Let’s try to craft creative language that allows us to involve the community and involve powerful criteria,” she said, arguing that the district’s proposal could be improved by allowing the personnel committee members to have a direct vote on candidates, not just an advisory role.

Caitlin Healey, a special education teacher at Emerson Elementary School in North Oakland, said OUSD needed more data and analysis on the role of seniority in transfers before moving forward with this kind of dramatic change. The district and union have in the past followed an “advisory matching” process that facilitates meetings between schools and potential transfer candidates, but officials have not studied the success of that effort, noted Healy, who is also a member of the union’s executive board. Ultimately, she said there didn’t seem to be evidence that relying on seniority resulted in problematic placements: “People want to work at a place where they will fit in.”

Other teachers said they felt strongly that the Article 12 proposal could be used to punish outspoken teachers. “It’s a way of driving out the more experienced teachers who tend to be the ones who stand up and say what they believe,” said Mark Airgood, a teacher at Edna Brewer Middle School and a union site representative. “This is just a way of attacking the union.”

In Fruitvale, at Fremont High School, one of the five schools in the intensive support process, some longtime teachers are concerned that the Article 12 changes could prevent them from continuing to teach their current students once the school is redeveloped. With existing Article 12 protections, when schools close, teachers have a right to follow their students to a new facility. “If our school disappears around us … can we stay with our kids?” said Patricia Arabia, a teacher at Fremont High since 1999. If new transfer rules and the turnaround initiative ultimately forced teachers to separate from their students, “That’s horrible for the kids and horrible for the teacher,” she said.

It’s unclear what kind of compromise, if any, the district and union could reach on seniority rights. Flint said the district is willing to negotiate the terms of its Article 12 proposal, but noted that bargaining in general had grown strained in recent weeks — with substantial disagreements on the rate of salary increases, in addition to the rift on seniority rules.

But with something as fundamental as basic job protection, Gorham said, “We feel we have to take a strong position.” She added: “What we really want to protect is the dignity of teachers who are displaced through no fault of their own.”

Contact the author of this piece, send a letter to the editor, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Updated information regarding Administrative Salaries

Oakland Public School Parents post on increase in salaries for Top OUSD central office administrators from last year to this year; 34% increase

An Oakland Public School Parent posted:
I’m attaching an image tweeted earlier today by @scmaestra. and retweeted by @OaklandEA. Hopefully it will show up for you.
It’s a table showing the salary changes from 2013-14 to 2014-15 for OUSD top central office personnel plus the salaries for four brand new central office positions. I don’t know the original source of the figures, but I am presuming these are OEA findings or a table created by the District itself. I believe they are legitimate. Jack Gerson wrote about some of thisherehttp://classroomstruggle.org/2015/02/11/antwan-wilsons-idea-of-cutting-administration-pad-the-top-chop-from-the-bottom/
Just for the record, the photo you reference was from data compiled by me from information requests to OUSD regarding contract management employees in both 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years and is taken from their actual, board approved contracts.  It is salary only data and does not include various perks like car allowances or health care coverage costs.  The public data is available to anyone who makes the request. 
In several cases, i.e.. Brigitte Marshall, the position title changed as well as the compensation.  So, technically, it wasn’t a raise but a change of position.  Nonetheless the salary data is accurate and I ran it past OUSD labor relations to confirm it before I put it out.

The salary data for 2014-15 is what is in the actual contract.  Transparent California runs a year or two behind
At any rate, in that one year alone, 20 individuals were given raises totalling $306,079. The percentage of “change in cost” varies, but their average raise in that one year alone was 5.64%.
The salary for the four new office positions totals $637,000.
Thus, in one year alone, those 24 lucky central office individuals were the recipients of an additional $943,079 from the District’s coffers.

Compare this to the OUSD teachers per the KPIX news report on 2/5/2015:“[OEA President Trish Gorham] said teachers have only had a total increase of 3.25 percent since 2003 and a high percentage of that small amount didn’t occur until two years ago.”

IMO, the contrast, arrogance, disrespect, and unfairness speaks for itself.

OUSD-central-office-salaries (2)

Message to Superintendent Wilson:

A teacher’s perspective on discrepancies in Mr Wilson’s letter of February 11th


Give Teachers the Raise They Deserve and

Demand the State Forgive the Debt that It Ran Up

From Superintendent Wilson’s February 11th, “Teacher Contract Negotiations Update”:

OEA has put forward something that is very similar to the salary increase from 2000-2002 that contributed to District bankruptcy and State takeover…

OEA Proposes 20% Salary Increase: Memories of Receivership

OEA’s proposes [sic] a total salary increase of approximately 20% phased in over 3 years, 2014-15 through 2016-17. This proposal is reminiscent of the approximately 20% increase between 2000 and 2002 that set the stage for the District to lose local control, enter state receivership, and take a $100 million loan from the state against which we must still make $6m annual repayments.

Mr. Wilson’s misleading analogy is historically inaccurate and it either mistakenly or purposefully implicates Oakland teachers in the District’s past financial problems.  It also undermines Mr. Wilson’s own stated goal…

View original post 652 more words

Edna Brewer Community March to Board Meeting is this Wednesday

Edna Brewer teachers, parents, and students are planning to march on February 25th to the school board meeting. OEA Reps spoke at our PTSA meeting tonight and got a lot of support. We are planning to leave Brewer at 3:30 and march down to the lake, meeting up with others at the Colonnade at 4pm and march down the side of the lake to the Board Meeting. We are hoping that other schools will join!

In addition to addressing the contract demands, there will be items on the board agenda on giving an unprecedented 3 year contract to TFA, and on reorganization of the job classification of SEIU members working as Teachers’ Aides . Great time to show union solidarity.  We will be inviting all the SEIU members at our site to join the march.

Standing with our teachers Flier is available in English and now in Spanish! Also for business and community Organizations!

spanish pink flyer final      pictureFor families wishing to visibly show support for our teachers as they seek a fair contract, a flier has been created which can be placed in a car, home or shop window to show unity with the teachers and other parents across the district.  Feel free to print the pdf file below in color (it is bright neon fuchsia) and pass on to others who are interested. You may also use the original version below and print in b/w on bright pink paper – I used Astrobrights Fireball Fuchsia but any bright neony pink will do!  Thank you! There is a version for families, for Businesses, for Community Institutions like libraries and museums and a version in spanish.

ousd sign_business_march_pink

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ousd sign_community_march_pink

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ousd sign_family_white_march

ousd sign_spanish_biz_march_pink

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History of the OEA-OUSD contract negotiations from September 2013 to now

Please see the below for a helpful overview of changes in key proposals by both OEA and OUSD over the period of contract negotiations.  The first is a broad overview of movement by both parties, and the second specifically relates to special ed hard caps on class sizes.  The information comes from classroomstruggle.org, not from either OEA or OUSD but uses information obtained from OEA.

Bargaining overall 2013-15 Distilled_2-20-15_cs revised

Bargaining SPED 2013-15 Distilled_1 pg_cs