Sunday, April 15, 2018

V 2.0 - High LW School District Salaries Burden Our Community

Image result for opinion imagesLake Washington District Central  Administration leadership as indicated by salaries is nonadaptive; the end result our students suffer from miss-use of  public funds. 

The new LWSD Communications and Community Engagement Director of less then one year is paid a flat $169.285 per year  This is outrageous.  The Mayor of Redmond is paid less than $138,000.

On the district's Central Leadership Team Organizational Chart I counted 16 Directors each earning $169,285 on a flat scale.  I counted 9 Associate Directors with salaries of $153,330. All salaries are flat without a low-midpoint-high range.  The administrator salaries should be on a sliding scale based on performance and experience. Keep in mind, school business slows or ceases in many departments when school is out ... for example "Communications and Community Engagement."

Another benchmark:  Redmond's Deputy Administrator, Chief of Police and Chief of Fire are paid the upper range of $165,372 per year with a bonus. Both governments have similar budgets of approximately $300,000,000.  Redmond's mayor is paid $125,000. 

Not all Directors are over-paid. Dr. Jon Holmen, the district's Deputy Superintendent oversees five Directors who in my opinion should be elevated to "Executive Director."  These Directors are  invaluable. They bridge the schools and Central Administration and oversee all the principals. According to School Board Director Cassandra Sage they are required to be in the schools 2.5 days per week.

Director Matt Gillingham runs "Student and School Support Services and also deserves "Executive Director" status.  Mr. Gillingham is responsible for student safety, social-emotional well-being, mental health recovery, and bullying issues and also oversees the athletic department. I first met him during Truancy Board training.  He and Associate Superintendent Barbara Poshumous gave an impressive presentation to city council about the Old Redmond Schoolhouse community center transition.

The district has too many overpaid chiefs and not enough indians.  Our new superintendent will be the CEO of the third largest school district in the State and should be very well paid to attract the best. The time is ripe for a new leader.  A good superintendent will know the capabilities of his/her workers, their roles, and rank to pay them accordingly.

The School Board of Directors has an excellent opportunity to right the ship and bring efficiencies and innovation to the organization.  Selecting a superintendent is the most important and significant duty our school board has.  Opportunities for parents and the community to actively participate in the selection process is a necessity.

B. Yoder

Sources:  December 14th, 2018 School Board meeting packet / public record request
                City of Redmond public record request
                Redmond City Television, Comcast 21
                Barbara Posthumous, Assoc. Superintendent


Anonymous said...

Your observations are spot-on. We have way too many high-priced administrators. What are they all doing? No doubt they are busy with meetings and reports, but there's unquestionably overlap in their duties that could be consolidated.

If the school district were run like an actual business, there would be a re-organization and some of these people would be told to find new jobs - either within the district or elsewhere.

The big question is whether all these assistant and associate superintendents translate into a better education for our students? The Stats say no - no better outcome. Test scores for the past 3 years have been flat for 4th graders in reading and math with 1 of every 5 students unable to pass the state tests. (And the 4th grade test is not very difficult to pass.)

The new superintendent will need to downsize all these departments with (gasp) pink slips and layoffs in the administrative ranks. The money being spent on these huge superintendent salaries would be better spent supplementing in-class paraeducators and aids for students who are academically behind or who need additional attention.

Bob Yoder said...

Good points & I'd be interested to know the sources of your performance data. I'll be writing a series of posts on this owing to the transition to a new superintendent. If we paid the Directors, Assoc. Directors, Managers, Coordinators and Specialists 20% less, they'd still get a good salary and the money saved could be pushed down to the school level for our teachers and their needs. Paring down would also help the janitors and other blue collar workers who must commute from outlying areas because the Eastside is no longer affordable.

Anonymous said...

The data for 4th grade math and reading scores was found at:

To find information about school test scores and demographics around the state,
-go to the OSPI website at
-choose "Data & Reports" and then "School Report Card"
-in the "Summary" listbox, choose "Lake Washington School District" or any other school district in the state

The Kitsap Sun Newspaper website has salary data for all school employees:

Anonymous said...

I'm missing salary comparisons to leaders of neighboring school districts. There are comparisons in this piece to other fields, but none of them are education.

John Reinke said...

Thank you for this important discussion!

Anonymous said...

This is excellent work, Robert Yoder!! Public funds are not a gravy train trough that invites a few select persons to dine. In dictatorships, totalitarian states, and places where extremists are in power, there is nothing anyone can do it. Here, in a free country, we the public taxpayors can examine salaries in a fair way and taxpayors can lobby to decide if salaries are fair and commensurate with service given. There is another item that bothers me about salaries in LWSD, and that is the Assistant superintendent gave her husband a 30K raise last year, which I think it's illegal that he's working for her in the first place.