Culver City Observer -

By George Laase
Special to the Observer 

CCUSD Salaries Skyrocket

 

August 22, 2019

It is common knowledge among educators that most school districts nation-wide spend about 80% of their revenue, either to pay salaries or on behalf of their employees for their services. In 2018-19, Culver City spent over 91.5% of its unrestricted revenues on staff compensation. From fiscal years 2013-14 to 2017-18 the district staff cost of employment increased almost $20.0M.

According to the state website Ed Data, which compiles information given it from school districts state-wide, over those same four years, the costs of CCUSD staff compensation, increased dramatically: Certificated salaries increased 33.27%, classified salaries increased 27.1% and Employee Benefits increased 85%.

Over the same time, our district received over 14 million dollars more in state LCFF funding. In addition to this state funding increases, local board members chose to spend our reserves down from $20M to $12M. That's a four-year spending increase of more than 22 million dollars which has led to years of continued deficit spending by the board.

Of that 22 million increase in district spending, 19.8 million was spent to raise district employees' compensation. That means that 90% of the district's spending increase was paid to or paid on behalf of the adult staff. How much of the new parcel tax, just passed, will end up being used this same way--to pay for future increases in employee salary and/or benefits and increased pension contributions?

As parents, we don't mind spending money on our children's education, if, there is going to be a better, tangible outcome for our child: A better education, leading to a better job, leading to a better life, et cetera.

We've seen just how much the district's bottom line has increased in its cost of employment for its staff. But, as parents, we also need to ask the ultimate bottom-line question, "What did our students get out of this 4-year district spending spree?"

We, as community, should not sit back and feel complacent just because the state is giving our district more in annual funding. In 2017-18, we received just 86% of the average which the other 47 unified school districts in LA County received in state funding. We used to receive 98.4%, in comparison, before the LCFF program began. So, why does it seem our funding is being shorted each year?

Is it possible to do something for our children's education without it costing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars more in employees' salaries and benefits?

Sometimes it is very hard to see through all the district's levels of transparency to really see what is going on with the district's spending for our children's education.

We must move beyond the long-held funding fallacy that the more we spend on education, the more our children will learn. There is no direct correlation between what teachers earn and what our children learn.

George Laase

Culver City

 

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