By Ken Epstein
Teachers and others in the school community are complaining that Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Antwan Wilson’s administration is top heavy with highly paid new administrators who had worked in Denver, CO public schools.
Wilson, formerly an assistant superintendent of Denver schools, earns $280,000 a year plus benefits. In addition, he received a $28,000 moving allowance and an additional payment for six months of temporary housing while he looks for a new home, as well as reimbursement for his legal expenses for negotiating his contract with the district.
The cost of benefits generally adds more than one-third to the cost of an employee’s’ annual salary.
Troy Flint, the school district’s spokesman, told the Post that he is working on gathering the information on the amounts Supt. Wilson is being paid for temporary housing and for his legal expenses.
Administrative salaries frequently become a major issue during contract negotiations between school districts and teachers’ unions, especially in Oakland where teacher pay is the lowest in the Bay Area.
Oakland’s two previous top executives were Gary Yee, acting superintendent who earned $250,000 a year; and Tony Smith, who was formerly a superintendent in Emeryville, earned $265,000 a year when he left the district.
Also from Denver, Chief of Schools Allen Smith earns $175,000 and received $15,000 for moving expenses.
Yana Smith, Chief, Organizational Effectiveness & Culture, Allen Smith’s wife, is earning $155,000 and $12,500 for moving costs.
Devin Dillon, Chief Academic Officer, Office of the Superintendent, is earning $175,000 plus $11,000 for moving.
Bernard McCune, Deputy Chief of the Office of Post-Secondary Readiness, earns $157,000 a year plus $17,000 for moving costs.
Ray Mondragon, deputy chief academic of early childhood learning, is earning $157,000. The position is grant funded.
A number of these positions are newly created and supplement existing top administrators in the district.
Other new officials include Isaac Kos-Read, chief of Communications and Public Affairs, who earns $192,000. He previously worked as director of External affairs at the Port of Oakland and was a public affairs consultant for the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
His position is paid by the Oakland Public Education Fund, which has an office in the school district headquarters.
According to Flint, the district’s spokesman, Kos-Read plays a crucial role at the school district.
“Isaac brings substantial experience and expertise in Public Affairs and Communications, areas where the District has suffered from lack of capacity for years,” he said. “The marginal benefits of adding someone of Isaac’s talents yields benefits far beyond the cost in terms of increased ability to interact with diverse stakeholder groups, identify community concerns, and deal with those issues effectively.”
The Oakland Post is hearing from community members and district staff that they are concerned that the superintendent’s reliance on administrators from outside Oakland contributes to what they say is his team’s relative isolation from the concerns of local people and a tendency to make mistakes in judgment based on ignorance or disregard for local realities.
Courtesy of the Post New Group, February 27, 2015 (postnewsgroup.com)