Part of the Bay Area News Group

Expanded database shows Oakland school district employee salaries

By Katy Murphy
Monday, May 24th, 2010 at 6:00 pm in finances, OUSD central office, teachers.

Ever wondered what the people at the top — and at the bottom — of the Oakland school district food chain make? Two of my colleagues have added salary information for employees of the Oakland school district and other Bay Area public agencies into a searchable database.

Note: The data was requested from a calendar year, rather than a school year, so for those who worked in OUSD only in 2008-09 or in 2009-10, it would show just half their annual salaries.

You can find the story here and the database here.

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  • Cranky Teacher

    Good news is there isn’t anybody in schools who is cashing insane checks for working a million hours of overtime at parades and festivals.

    Bad news is there is nobody cashing much of any checks for working actual overtime.

    My biggest beef with the actual pay structure of OUSD is that the size of the school principals lead is not fairly represented in the pay scale so that it is becoming near impossible to find candidates to lead the big high schools.

  • Oakland Teacher

    1. I am embarrassed that anyone can look up my salary and see how little I am paid!

    2. I am embarrassed that my school secretary (who does not have a college degree (I have a masters) makes the same amount as most of my school’s teachers

    3. I am outraged that teachers are so devalued in this country as compared to other professions. Why is it that these other prof are paid 4-6x my salary?

    4. I am guessing that all of the OUSD administrators are embarrassed to have their salaries posted for a very different reason.

    5. Teachers work plenty of overtime. We just don’t get paid for it.

    6. It is interesting to see how all of the (very)small schools principals make around 100k, while the principal of a large school like Skyline does not make much more. It looked like other districts pay their high school principals far higher (all of their high schools are large) than Skyline. Perhaps the small schools foundation people should have to pay the principals’ salaries for the first 10 years of any “new” school as a way to offset this expense, and we could divert some of that money to attract and retain principals for large comprehensive high schools.

    **Cranky – I just read your post. Funny how we had the same reaction about HS principal salary.

  • seenitbefore

    People cashing in by taking their performing groups to parades and festivals???? Are you kidding me????? THAT’s what you were worried about????

    Last night, I was able to check on the salaries of at least 15 people who work at my school before the database mysteriously started having “technical difficulties”. Most of the people do NOTHING at our school except cause turmoil, yet are paid between 58K and 87K.

    Then there’s the whole issue of general funds used at the Principal’s discretion. For example, our principal has repeatedly told the teachers and parents that there is absolutely no money for things that students and teachers need….. such as paper! The PTA and individual parents were told that they needed to purchase paper for the school, which they did all year. Yet, a couple of weeks ago, a big truck pulls up to school and delivers brand new office furniture for the principal’s office. What’s up with THAT????

    Bottom line……OUSD has PLENTY of money floating around.

    It’s simply a matter of prioritizing what the people with POWER choose to spend the money on. Sadly, they continue to choose to spend money on office furniture, consultants or ridiculous paperwork systems instead of what it is SUPPOSED to be used for……on direct instruction for the children of Oakland in their classrooms.

  • Nonie

    I checked mine – I wish I earned what it lists – about $8,000 more than I do..hmmm!

  • Cranky Teacher

    Seenitbefore,

    I was referring to the massive overtime figures earned by cops, firemen and other public workers that have so outraged taxpayers and set in motion the creation of databases like this one.

    My point, far too obliquely stated, was that teachers don’t earn overtime — in fact we get less than our actual pay if we ever receive any of those rare “extended contract” hours.

    Sorry to be confusing.

  • seenitbefore

    Thanks for clarifying :-)

    I agree…. if teachers were paid hourly for the ACTUAL work they do…. we’d ALL be millionares!

    Not to disparage our sister unions…. but check out what some of the custodians make… because they DO get paid for overtime.

    We are paying 3 custodians at our small school… and a 4th ne’er do well “custodian” that is related to our principal somehow. Combine those salaries and you’d be shocked! Probably even more shocked than you would be by looking at the filthy conditions of our school bathrooms, hallways and grounds.

    And before people wonder how I can find time to post on a school day…. it’s lunchtime.

  • Starshaped

    You know what is sickening? Vincent Matthews, who does NOTHING but hold the purse strings, makes more that ANYBODY! Ridiculious!

  • AC Mom

    Sorry to be off the subject, but it is precisely the comments made by staff and evidence obtained from other sources about poor spending decisions by OUSD that make it difficult for me vote in favor of an additional parcel tax to support the schools. Generally speaking, teachers are underpaid, but I have no confidence that more funds will: a) be used to retain qualified teachers and principals; b) be used in such a way that results are tangible either in improved student outcomes or school environment. I love my OUSD school and I devote time money and energy whenever I can to support the education occuring there, but the status quo of the district leaves alot to be desired…

  • TheTruthHurts

    AC Mom, you seem no different than people all over the country – My school is great, but schools suck. My teacher is good, but those other teachers suck. I like what is happening in my universe, but don’t ask me to give money to the whole.

    I understand the sentiment, but the situation is far more complex than it is made out to be. I bet right now you have spending in your own household that is not as good as you’d like. I bet you don’t spend your time solely on what you’ve identified as your priorities. I bet there are things you said you’d do with your life that you haven’t. Tradeoffs you’ve made that you thought you wouldn’t.

    I’m not defending that behavior in a school system or in our own lives (I’m guilty of it too). What I am saying is “life is just not that simple.”

  • The Bottom

    You’re killing me. My self-esteem is low enough as it is. Why did I get into public education again? Was it the joy of public humiliation?

  • http://educationreport CJA

    Its sad to wish I had never seen this…

  • The real issue

    Interesting to note which districts the highest paid teachers work in.
    Those higher salaries are definitely going to recruit the most talent.

  • aly

    oakland teacher- your post is a good way to alienate the support staff and reduce support for teacher’s wages to increase. your commentary on being more formally educated than your secretary and therefore “embarrassed” that she makes as much as you is unflattering, to say the least. when i stepped back from my teaching role and took a job as a receptionist this year, my pay was cut in HALF. all of the clerical staff where i work makes near what i do, only they’ve been doing their jobs for 10-15 years, which i find much more embarrassing for them. it is interesting to me that you don’t realize your secretary is an anomaly, not the rule.

    yes, teachers in oakland are underpaid compared to other districts, but so are ALL staff. it is disgusting that intervention specialists, instructional aides, and aides to the handicapped will work for decades in our district and barely make a living wage. one amazing aide at our school will retire after 25 years this year and is making barely $20k working full time this year. no teacher has ever been subject to such indignity.

    the attitude displayed in your post has made me feel that much more comfortable disagreeing with the union’s demands. how about some outrage over what the people who make your school run are given to survive on? and yes, yes there is always the argument that they, too, could somehow afford to educate themselves and move on to make more money, but their job will always remain for someone to fill.

    there is something very disconcerting about the attitude in a few of the posts about support staff that makes it seem as though we view those people as inherently less valuable than teachers. it is one thing if your custodian doesn’t EARN his/her keep and they’re making a decent living. it is another to be irked that they’ve managed to be in the same bracket as you.

  • Oakland Teacher

    I am not going to comment on the secretary’s job performance, because it is not my place to say whether they “earn their keep” as you state. But as a matter of fact, she has worked in that position almost the same length of time as all of the teachers, so that does not explain why her pay is nearly the same. It is an indignity that teachers work so many unpaid hours for a job where they are not paid commensurate with their education. We are not really paid a professional salary. An inexperienced x-ray tech makes 60k yearly starting salary (with many opportunities for overtime if desired)after 18 months of school. A teacher in OUSD earns 40k yearly after 6+ years of college. I saw people on that list whose jobs require at most a bachelor’s degree, yet are paid nearly $200,000 yearly with overtime. I find that disconcerting. Some people working for the school district have a salary that is aligned with their education, but teachers are not among them.

    I could not agree more about how poorly paid many of the support staff at the school are; you are lucky to have a wonderful aide who has stayed despite her abysmal salary. Please do not portend that you can read my mind or speak for me regarding my beliefs about support staff. I am not quibbling about the secretary’s salary, but the fact that mine is so low.

    You are free to speak against teachers or our deserving a raise, but don’t blame it on me. I think that most people in a profession would be embarrassed to find out that people with far less education and no additional experience were being paid equal salaries. I think that most people would be embarrassed to know that anyone could look up their salary like that.

  • J.R.

    “Interesting to note which districts the highest paid teachers work in.
    Those higher salaries are definitely going to recruit the most talent”.

    What is even more interesting is that “these” teachers are regarded as highly talented, and yet many teachers have been saying that you cannot easily quantify teacher quality and ability? So is there a way to measure a good teacher as opposed to a bad teacher? Is it really the teacher, or is it the highly motivated students in that highly ranked district? Is it both?

  • harlemmoon

    What’s really INTERESTING (beyond employing this overused word again on this post) is how many people are whining – yes, whining – about their salaries when they were well aware of the pay scale when they signed up. If the issue is salary, and you disagree with yours, and there’s no hope of remedy, well the next step is clear: move on.

  • J.R.

    Harlem,
    Good point, there is a saying(this is not verbatim but the thought is the same) “most of the time, those who complain the most actually do the least”. It is that way with a few teachers that I know.

  • Lara

    Harlemmoon–I see your point, but I feel like it’s important for us educators to agitate for change. We knew we were entering an imperfect system, yes, but most of us know that we must improve that system if we’re going to create lasting benefits for the students of Oakland. I’m not surprised at my salary; I am indignant.

  • harlemmoon

    Well, Lara, here is where I get a tad confused. Until now, the debate centered on salary – or lack thereof of a decent (fair?) wages.
    Now you introduce another – and in my humble opinion, critically important – issue: the children.
    That’s an entirely different discussion – one that we don’t hear often enough over the din about teachers’ low wages. In fact, very little about the children ever comes up in the near-hostile back and forth about strikes, bargaining, etc.
    Intellectually speaking, the argument for higher wages might be a bit more palatable to the public if the rank and file could make the connection between (higher?) teachers’ wages and the “benefits for the students of Oakland.”

  • J.R.

    This is what Oakland students have been subjected to up to this point. Nowhere to go but up I guess.

    http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_12425498

  • The real issue

    J.R., I do believe there is a way to quantify teacher performance.

    I don’t think a single test score is the answer. But I do believe that combining regular (meaning monthly at a minimum) observations by a principal and/or a lead teacher, student and family surveys about teacher performance, and colleague feedback with student performance data is one way to measure whether or not a teacher is effective.

  • J.R.

    Real issue,
    Thank you, that is exactly what I had hoped a possible answer would be.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    Before we start beating up on the school secretaries and janitors for making “too much money,” perhaps we should reflect on whether it’s wise, in terms of staff harmony and our own personal well-being, to be searching out our colleagues’ salary information in the first place. My initial, gut reaction to this list is “None Of My Business.” Nor do I have any inclination to go rifling through my co-workers’ underwear drawers.

    And I very much appreciate that other people here have pointed out how unsavory it is for teachers to be grumbling about our clerical staff, custodians, and other support being paid “too much money.” Everywhere I’ve worked in the district, these people have been golden. They hit the ground running from the moment they arrive on campus, working every bit as diligently as the faculty members do. Our support staff have answered my questions, patiently explained policy from the Experts’ Standpoint, helped me find people or documents that I need Right Now, dropped everything to help me defuse classroom crises, saved me from Street Sweeping Ticket Lady, slain the Red Tape Dragons, rescued me from my own confusion, forgiven me when a ball of yarn I’ve dropped has made their jobs more complex, brightened the day with kind words or Attaboys, and graced me with their friendship.

    They care every bit much as the teachers do about the students’ safety, education, and well-being, and if some of us don’t recognize that, the children certainly do. They’re pretty good at recognizing when Baby, Fool, and Get Your Behind To Class mean “I love you.” By now, they also know that this or that teacher may be around next year, maybe not, advanced degrees notwithstanding. But Ma’am in the Office will ALWAYS be around with an important form, a patient explanation, a bandaid, or a hug.

    As for the Custodians, I’d like to see the district establish a Thank You day just to honor them. I wouldn’t care if our school custodians made ten times the money I make, because their job is dirty, repetitive, and nowhere near sufficiently appreciated. Any teacher who has never said Thank You to the custodians who clean up the daily mess at school needs to fix that tomorrow. And if you take the time to stop and converse with them for a few minutes, they can be just as intelligent, interesting, and ESPECIALLY as good-humored as anyone you’ll ever meet. For the custodians I’ve gotten to know, it’s all about making the school nice For The Children.

    Incidentally, it’s possible to have Big Degrees hanging all over the wall and still not have an ounce of class.

  • J.R.

    Ms.McLaugh,
    You are right in one respect, there are teachers who have no “class”, fortunately that is a small activist minority. If the teachers believe in wages based on ability(Janitors, clerical staff, teachers)why don’t they insist that their unions support merit pay? I think the most capable teachers “should” be paid more, but I don’t want to pay the teachers who are just “Killing Time” more as well.Doctors work together, and they don’t all make the same money. They are professional and collegial, why couldn’t teachers be as well? Put up or……………

  • seenitbefore

    Honestly, I have no problem with being paid for the results that I produce. Or even a fair hourly wage… as long as I get paid for ALL of the extra hours I am required to put in to actually get my job done.

    What I DO have a problem with…. is the reality of OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, which is the largest employer in the city of Oakland and where NEPOTISM and milking the system has become a way of life for entire families.

    I have been in this district for well over a decade. I have worked at various levels, including several stints where I reported directly to supervisors at the extreme level of authority. I have been in nearly every school in the entire district i some capacity of my work career at OUSD.

    Trust me….. some of the things I have seen have been horrifying. Custodians smoking inside their offices, bringing their small children and a bucket of chicken into the computer lab in the evenings and letting them play while they worked, watching TV or playing games on the internet behind locked doors (which I had a key for and opened), mice and rats running rampant in hallways, theft of school property, 4 guys huddled around a TV set watching a football game while collecting overtime, guys sleeping in their trucks in the parking lot, trash piled up, unclean floors waxed over, furniture stuck to the floor with wax because they didn’t want to move it…… Really? Do I need to go on?

    How about an attendance clerk who sells real estate while on the clock. A computer tech who travelled around trying to sell people jewelry while she was “fixing” their computers. The ladies in the warehouse who were in charge of the UPC bar code machine for inventory, yet sat in their office popping popcorn all day while instructing people at school sites to “just write down the UPC label codes on paper”.

    This stuff is not made up! I wish it were!!!

    The state messed up when they took over OUSD. They should have broken the district up into much smaller and more manageable districts where people’s indiscretions would have nowhere to hide. The district is too big…. and there are too many places for people to skim funds, hire their relatives and get moved around from site to site if they get caught.

    Honestly, you can’t fix a system when the people who run it…. don’t want it to be fixed and try to cast aspersions or put the blame on anyone who dares to say “the emperor has no clothes”.

  • J.R.

    Seen,
    It happens in many districts, I too have witnessed similar incidents such as the ones you recount. That is why I say the entire education system needs to be shaken vigorously so the dead and rotten fruit will fall to the ground. I know a district specialist who volunteered to be “copy queen” because and I quote “I make a lot of money, and I don’t have very much to do, and I feel guilty”! Case closed.

  • harlemmoon

    I say that we have a responsibility to “shake vigorously.” Perhaps you and Seen can forward names of the “dead ad rotten fruit” to the appropriate district officials?

  • Jenna

    I found that my son’s fourth grade teacher who did not know grammar and did not know how to add and subtract fractions is making almost $10,000 more than his fifth grade teacher who is teaching the vocabulary, writing, English and math for both fourth and fifth grades to make sure my sons and his peers are prepared to enter middle school with the skills they need.The fourth grade teacher makes almost as much as the principal and got her bachelor’s degree at a college that wasn’t even accredited when she attended. Principal has a master’s degree and is working on her Ed.D. Something’s wrong with this picture.

    My older son’s middle school teachers make about $70,000 per year – which seems fair for the classes they teach and the after school clubs they sponsor.

  • seenitbefore

    Well… considering that one of the people whom I’ve trusted and spoken with about such problems is Laura Moran. We see where THAT got her.

    Very often.. the custodian is the principal’s nephew or relative, neighbor or best friend’s son.

    For example, the new principal at one school this year is purported to have at least 6 newly hired relatives or close friends now working at her school this year. Meanwhile, she consolidated 2 full time teachers… and she is firing (or trying to fire) most long term teachers or anyone who speaks up or attends union meetings. She’s also writing up or giving poor evaluations to every teacher I have spoken with at that site. (at least a dozen and there’s only about 20 teachers on the campus).

    With no previous experience as a principal, she made 87K in 2009 according to the database Katy posted.