Culver City Observer -

By George Lasse
Special to the Culver City Observer 

Board Members Financially Blew It


Starting in 2013, all school districts around the state--including the CCUSD, have been paying the state-mandated increases in annual percentages set by Gov Brown's program to pay off CalSTRS unfunded liabilities and help fund its future payouts.

A district’s annual CalSTRS payment is based on its certificated employees’ salaries: The higher the salary, the more has to be paid. During the first dozen or so years of this century, the CCUSD was paying some of the lowest wages in LA County. It would follow, then, that our district also should have accumulated some of the lowest unfunded pension liabilities.

CCUSD Annual CalSTRS Payments

2107-18 - $7,507,317

2016-17 - $6,453,325

2015-16 - $5,422,087

2014-15 - $4,069,105

2013-14 - $2,305,672

2012-13 - $2,106,883

2011-12 - $1,971,647

2010-11 - $1,953,288

2009-10 - $2,015,031

But, as the chart above clearly shows, the CCUSD's CalSTRS payments have more than TRIPLED in the last four years. This was due to both the state's plan to increase school districts' annual CalSTRS payments to 225% by 2021 and our own local board's very generous, multi-year raises totaling 25% that were given to certificated employees over the last five-years-also included were all other district-wide employees.

Even if district salaries had remained steady during the governor's plan to sure up CalSTRS, the district's payments would have risen 225%. But, in combination with the board members' overly-generous raises, this caused the district’s pension payments to rise, that much more rapidly.

As it stands now, even if there are no new district raises negotiated over the next three years, the district's payments to CalSTRS will still balloon to 335% by 2020-21. Mathematically, that would mean the Board’s decision to raise certificated salaries 25% during the governor's pension stabilization plan is responsible for the almost 50% increase in our district's payments into CalSTRS.

These figures don't even account for the district's much more complicated CalPERS increase in payments.

Didn’t board members, at the time, see this coming? Why did they raise district salaries so much? Is this why they were so desperate in having local property owners bail them out with the largest local parcel tax increase ever--equal to $16-million dollars over seven years, or were they just counting on its passage?


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