I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

11 November 2012

Naughty San Francisco Unified

The pension destruction reform crowd talks a lot about pension spiking: manipulating one's rate of pay so to increase pension benefits.  An easy way to do this is to have significant pay increases - warranted or not - in the last year before retirement.  Since many pension funds use only the final year salary in pension calculation, this can reap huge dividends.  On a massive scale, it can also negatively impact the fund's bottom line for all retirees.

Teachers in the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) aren't pension spiking; we work to contracted pay scales.  Any extra pay comes with extra work and there's not much of the former; making some massive increase to one's final annual salary would be nearly impossible.

Even the state agrees.  In their recent STRS audit, they noted that the certificated employees really can't spike their pensions, but their bosses can.

And some bosses in San Francisco Unified did just that.

The state looked at five districts; San Francisco was one of the two naughty ones.  Fifteen executives and managers received a collective 6% increase in pay in their final year.  Not a big deal?  Perhaps.  Let's quote the report:
Although that rate may not seem excessive, we noted that rank-and-file employees were experiencing furloughs and paycuts at the same time.
 Some of those managers made out very well.  One got a 26% pay increase six months prior to retirement; another got a 20% raise a year before retiring.  Sure, the increase could be justified (although again, unseemly in a budget crisis).  The District didn't justify these raises, though: the state audit found a decided lack of contracts noting positions, responsibilities, and salaries and no record of written documentation (evaluations and the like) explaining the increases.

Again, all of this is happening in a District in crisis, asking all employees to make sacrifices.  It's also happening in a District that was at the time seeking Race to the Top cash and the evaluation-by-test-score RTTT requires of its rank-and-file.  So apparently when managers and executives are demanding more for less from their teachers (and from their students receiving less instruction), they need to receive more pay personally.

And in a time when pensions are being attacked, these managers and executives chose to feed that fire by enriching themselves.

This isn't just a failure to show solidarity.  It is not just offensive, or bad optics.  It's indicative of a disconnect between District administration and the work of the District.  Our work is our students.  Our work is ending historical patterns of inequity.  Teachers and schools are committed to the goal, and they show that as they  do their best with less.  These managers were committed to ensuring their own material comfort at our expense.

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