Lake Washington School District

High LW School District Administration salaries negatively impact students and educators.

[This opinion is in the process of being updated.]
OPINION:  The Lake Washington School District Central Leadership Team and some administrator salaries are high; the end result, our educators are compromised.  

The LWSD Communications Director is paid a flat $169,285 per year.  In my opinion, this is excessive. The Mayor of Redmond (and CEO) is paid less than $138,000, with no summers off.

Looking at the district's Central Leadership Team Organizational Chart and a Board meeting packet 16 Directors earn $169,285/yr and 9 Associate Directors earn $153,330/yr with These salaries are adjusted 2% per year for inflation.  Keep in mind, school business slows or ceases in many departments when school is out. 

In my opinion, Barbara Posthumus, the district CFO and Associate Superintendent of Business and Support Services is underpaid.  She's the point person in the community during levy and bond measure proposals and is responsible for the budget. What could be more valuable?

Dr.Jon Holmen, the Deputy Superintendent (and now Superintendent) oversees four Directors who play a key role in the Administration.  Mr. Holman's Directors are invaluable and underpaid. They bridge the schools to the Central Central Leadership Team, and oversee all the principals. According to School Board member Cassandra Sage, Dr. Holmen's Directors are required to be in the schools 2.5 days per week.

Director Matt Gillingham runs "Student and School Support Services." and was just promoted to Associate Superintendent.  I first met Matt during Truancy Board training.  Mr. Gillingham is responsible for student safety, social-emotional well-being, mental health recovery, bullying issues and also oversees the athletic department. He should be paid more than a Director and now is!

Superintendent Jane Stavem is the CEO of the second largest school district in the State; the district is growing at the pace of one new elementary school per year.  It's my understanding, Dr. Stavem is already bringing efficiencies by streamlining the Administration. In fact, she recently made very significant changes to the Leadership Team organizational chart.

Dr. Jon Holmen is now the district superintendent. He will hopefully learn the capabilities and assets of her workers to rank and pay them accordingly.  Paying flat salaries doesn't encourage innovation or reward those who excell.  Low-median-high salary ranges would keep turn-over low to retain valuable workers and attract others.

-- Bob Yoder, 11/7/19

Sources:   Public Record Requests / Board meetings 


OPINION:  According to Lake Washington School District BY-LAWS, "The job of the Board is to represent the citizens and to lead the organization by asking critical questions and by determining and demanding appropriate and excellent organizational performance. 

"Community Involvement in Decision Making Policy" code was adapted 12/2/74, revised May 7, 1990 and was over 40 years old.  It's my understanding a recent Board amended this code for accountability and to reach better solutions and innovation goals.  Governments move slowly. 

Bond funding policy, re-boundary policy, facilities planning policy and regional feeder school adjustment policy are examples of when the CEO and Board's active participation and oversight is needed.  It's not my recollection such was not the case under Kimball.  Involvement hit a low point under his Administration when only 427 community members participated in the 2005 bond measure.  In the 2016 Bond measure, the Pierce Administration implemented a Regional Advisory Task Force on Facilities Planning.  In addition, a strong Bond Committee guided by a significant, committed developer, and an enhanced Levy Committee was formed, The bond passed. 

LWSD is now the 2nd largest school district in the State. It's growth is equivalent to one elementary school per year.  Infrastructure and facility needs are still unmet owing the extreme population growth and the Levy Committee's failure to pass two recent Capital Bond measures.  A 2019, $120M levy passed and several bond measures are in the horizon;; though I'm stressed and feeling "tax fatigue" (King County Parks levy, an EvergreenHealth bond retirement, Sound Transit, City property tax, State property tax. Medic One) I voted for the levy, despite my fixed-income as a Senior citizen.

-- Bob Yoder

Factoid:   As of 2/2011, the District had over 98,987 registered voters. School Board of Directors are elected officials.  Last time I heard, they have approx. a $4,800/yr stipend. They waive their stipend and direct these funds to an annual "study sessions" and conferences.  No funds are used in election campaigns.