LWSD Website / Opinions

High LW School District Administration salaries impact students and educators
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OPINION:  The Lake Washington School District Central Leadership Team and some administrator salaries are too high; the end result, our students and educators are somewhat impacted by misuse of these public funds.

The new LWSD "Communications and Community Engagement" Director of less then two years, 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, and he doesn't get 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....all on flat salaries with no low or high ranges.  The director & some administrators' 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"...not much engagement then.

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

Dr. Jon Holmen, the Deputy Superintendent who oversees five Directors plays 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."  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.

Superintendent Jane Stavem is the CEO of the third 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. 

Dr. Stavem 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 produce.  Low-median-high salary ranges would keep turn-over low to retain valuable workers and attract others.

-- Bob Yoder, 3/21/19

Sources:  December 14th, 2018 School Board meeting packet / public record request

                City of Redmond public record request
                Redmond City Television, Comcast 21    

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, last 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 high-powered Bond Committee and enhanced Levy Committee was formed and the bond passed.

LWSD is now the 3rd 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 and though I'm stressed and feeling "tax fatigue" (King County Parks levy, EvergreenHealth bond, Sound Transit, City property tax, State property tax.) I voted for the levy, despite my fixed-income.

-- 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 session" usually held in Leavanworth.  Stipends are also for conferences.  No funds are used in election campaigns.