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A School Superintendent takes big pay cut to save jobs

Original post made by Check out this great guy on Apr 9, 2009

Here's something a bit heartwarming -

Corona-Norco (Riverside County) Superintendent Kent L. Bechler plans to donate $50,000 of his $250,000 salary to his district, giving back $25,000 each year for the next two years. (from PE.com article dated March 2, 2009)


What a guy!

Comments (25)

Posted by love it, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Wow, and that district is facing much bigger cuts than PUSD. $37 million!

Web Link


Posted by AVHS Dad, a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Apr 9, 2009 at 2:03 pm

AVHS Dad is a registered user.

How many of us would give back anything to better the organizations we work for? Me? My wife would kill me!


Posted by Practical Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm

What I find interesting to note is per their district website, the Corona-Norco district is the 10th largest in California. More than 50,000 students, 32 elementary schools, 7 middle schools 8 high schools of which 5 are comprehensive. The compensation for the superintendent of this MUCH larger district is not much more than what Dr. Casey earns even though PUSD has less than 15,000 students.

Dr. Bechler's offer to reduce his income by 10% is significant in my book. Gotta have respect for his actions!!


Posted by Debra, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 9, 2009 at 2:24 pm

This truly puts John Casey's offer to shame........... as it should.


Posted by orange county happenings, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Here are the first few paragraphs of a news article in the Orange County Register dated April 3, 2009
-------------------------------------------------------------------

The Orange Unified School District is exploring a plan to slash all employees' pay by 3.75 percent to help eliminate a $30.1 million budget deficit.

Mission Viejo city leaders want all Saddleback Valley Unified employees to take a 4 percent pay cut to save a beloved elementary school from closing.

And Capistrano Unified's school board is clashing with employee unions over a proposed 10 percent across-the-board cut.

As school districts across Orange County grapple with multimillion-dollar budget deficits, they're exploring what many in the private sector have already done – slashing wages to save jobs.

It's a proposal that's generating considerable controversy and debate across the nation, as schools try to weather unprecedented downturns in funding levels without obliterating programs and services.

Advocates of the strategy say salary rollbacks are essential to preserving smaller class sizes, as well as a slew of instructional programs and extracurricular activities and the quality and integrity of the school experience.

and later in the article

The effects of teacher pay cuts on teacher quality and student performance are less clear. In an economic downturn, a temporary cut in teacher pay when all other sectors of the economy are hurting is not likely to affect the quality of public education, said Marigee Bacolod, an assistant professor of economics at UC Irvine.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The article has lots of interesting information/discussion....to view the entire article, please go to Web Link


Posted by marie, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Don't we wish that Dr Casey would do this too! I'll bet this man has all the respect of his employees..


Posted by Not Surprised, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 5:19 pm

So much for the "nowhere else are asking for concessions" argument.


Posted by Not Surprised, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 5:21 pm

So much for the "nowhere else are (they) asking for concessions" argument.


Posted by What the Heck, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 9, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I would be willing to bet $20 that people still think that the superintendent is getting paid too much. It seems in our current political cliamte we're moving more towards an "equal" pay for all.


Posted by Check out this great guy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Don't know if Mr. Bechler would be considered to still be making too much.
Point is, he did a very generous thing.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 9, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Have you looked at the test scores in that school district? Sadly, that is a district that is deeply in need of improvement. I'm grateful that my children have the privilege of attending schools in Pleasanton. I wish them the best of luck in the Capistrano Unified school district. I hope they are making the right choices to improve their situation. I know some of it is beyond their control.


Posted by Brandon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 1:49 am

Russell, test scores aren't that bad in Capistrano. They have a number of schools that are in the high 800's and some even in the 900's, comparable to the schools in Ptown. The demographics clearly played a bigger role in high test scores, of which you just conveniently ignored. Ptown schools would do just as well, if not better, if some or all of those high-paying administrators are replaced.

I'm certain our teachers can do a lot with the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on expensed meals and vehicle expenses for those at the top. And perhaps our children would do even better than they do now?!


Posted by Carl, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 10, 2009 at 6:37 am

In today's Tri-Valley Herald article on BART's 10% fare hike proposal:
Web Link

"Transit finances are so grim that the president of the union for BART train operations and station agents said his group has proposed a one-year wage freeze in contract negotiations. Labor costs account for about three-fourths of BART's operating budget."

When will the APT union president do the same?


Posted by Question for teachers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:16 am

Teachers,
How much do you pay in union dues? Is there any chance that your unions might offer a reduction in dues while the economy is so bad?


Posted by Mary, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:02 am

Who would even want to live Corona-Norco? they are lucky they could even get a superintendent, good thing they paid him a lot, cost of living is cheaper than here too. We are lucky to have Dr. Casey but I agree he and all administration should be giving more back to show leadership.


Posted by Cecelia, a resident of Las Positas
on Apr 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm

President Obama has changed the tax laws for anyone earning more than $225 thousand per year. With that said, it will be very interesting how folks will work that out tax-wise.


Posted by Carl approves fare hike, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm

"Posted by Carl, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, 10 hours ago

In today's Tri-Valley Herald article on BART's 10% fare hike proposal:...
When will the APT union president do the same?"

...when you notice that BART instituted a 10% fee hike. If you are going to compare private sector to school financing than a 10% fee hike from PUSD would fit right in with your point.


Posted by Carl, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Last I checked, BART is in the public sector and is heavily dependant on tax revenue.


Posted by Carl approves fare hike, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Even better! I'm just astounded that you would use BART as a comparison to PUSD. "Now facing even harsher times, BART needs higher fares to offset state cuts" BART is a lot like PUSD. Except, their union only proposed a freeze on wage increase, and raised the cost to the public. You don't seem to have a problem with that, while PUSD's wage increase was 0% this year, and the teacher's union agreed to a pay cut. Between administration and the teachers it is saving over $2 million dollars in concessions alone.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Carl approves fare hike wrote: "while PUSD's wage increase was 0% this year"

*ahem* Step and column wage increases are not frozen. I think you're referring to COLA increases.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Can anyone tell me how much anyone cared about John Casey's salary back in 1999 when 30 year olds were making millions in the stock market and retiring? People probably thought John Casey with all his education should have been selling pagers instead of caring about a child's education. Get over it!!! I don't understand why everyone thinks teachers and administrators should reduce their pay.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

In this depression, almost everyone is taking a pay reduction. Now personally, I don't agree with reducing teacher pay, but freezes to ANY salary increases should be absolutely considered. Casey is quoted as saying this is the worse he's seen it in 17 years, so why behave as if this is business as usual?

"In an economic downturn, a temporary cut in teacher pay when all other sectors of the economy are hurting is not likely to affect the quality of public education, said Marigee Bacolod, an assistant professor of economics at UC Irvine. But those salary cuts must be restored in the long term, as they typically are in the private sector." Web Link


Posted by Pro Freezes, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2009 at 8:54 am

I don't think anyone wants to see pay cuts - not in the private sector, not for school employees.
But the reality of 2009 is not the reality of 1999. What was reasonable then, isn't reasonable now. Taxpayers could afford to share their own successes by offering higher salaries and benefits to school administrators.
That's just not possible any longer. Who among us doesn't know at least a half dozen people who have either lost their jobs, had mandatory wage cuts, had their salaries and or/bonuses frozen, or seen their investment income crash and burn.
This isn't a situation peculiar to Pleasanton, it's happening throughout the country.
I too don't want to see pay cuts extended to teachers. But I think in the current economy, it's reasonable to ask the union to freeze salaries and reasonable to re-visit the wage freeze every year at contract negotiations until it's financially possible to unfreeze salaries.
Also, I don't think Dr. Casey came to PUSD until 2002, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong!


Posted by Cynthia, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Apr 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm

No one wants to see any pay cuts. What we want to see is leaders step up and act like leaders, and assume some of the responsibility that comes with being in such a position.

I am opposed to the parcel tax but I commend the teachers for making some concessions (kind of, only if the parcel tax passes). If I were a teacher in the district, I would expect similar sacrifices coming from the leadership (Casey) as well.

Without such sacrifices, I don't think Casey can be considered an effective leader, let along a leader at all.

But before I jump to conclusions, I will say that I just hope that even though no concessions from the top administrators have been made yet, at least not that I am aware of, hopefully they are coming.


Posted by Be Positive, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Cynthia-
Administration concessions have been made already. Combined with the days the teachers have given up it comes to $2 million dollars. Administration has also made cuts to the department totaling another $2 million.

The Valley Times last week reported that Livermore teachers turned down the offer to make concessions and Dublin and San Ramon currently have not done so either. PUSD has publically stated that there needs to be multiple solutions to this budget cuts and they need to come from a combination of ways.

Thank you PUSD for doing your fair share, as a member of this community who receives the services you provide, I will do my part and vote YES on Measure G!


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