Lodi Unified School District trustees receive $675 per month. Including health and other benefits, it costs district taxpayers more than $57,000 annually, according to a San Joaquin County Grand Jury report.
Lodi Unified, with 54 schools and an enrollment of 30,942 as of March 15, is the second-largest school district in San Joaquin County. Stockton Unified School District is slightly larger, with 59 schools and more than 38,000 students. All other districts are substantially smaller.
In addition to the $675 each of the seven Lodi Unified trustees receives, the district pays $57,500 for benefits. According to the grand jury report, only one board member receives the full package of health, dental and vision insurance. Two others opt for dental and vision only, while the other four decline benefits.
Only the Lincoln Unified School District in Stockton and Linden Unified offer no stipends or benefits. All other districts offer either a stipend or health benefits.
Board member Ron Heberle said he takes the $675 monthly stipend, but he donates it to individual schools or campus groups. For example, Heberle said he's donated cases of paper and textbooks, and he's contributed to the cost of academic compensation.
"My viewpoint is that it is a public service that we provide, and sure, it does cost money to campaign," said Heberle, who added that he's speaking for himself and no other trustee. "I look at it as more of a service than a position."
The grand jury suggested that districts consider reducing or eliminating benefits to reduce the number of employee layoffs and services to students.
Additionally, the public may wish to discuss trustee compensation with their local school boards, the grand jury stated.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.