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Big raise could mean $1 million more in retirement for Lodi unified superintendent

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Posted: Friday, February 22, 2008 10:00 pm

A pay raise granted this week to Lodi Unified's interim superintendent means an extra $40,000 in retirement benefits each year for the rest of his life - perhaps adding up to $1 million if he lives another 25 years.

Lodi Unified board members voted 5-1 Tuesday night to approve a $45,000 increase for Len Casanega, who will serve as superintendent through July 3.

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Welcome to the discussion.

67 comments:

  • posted at 9:16 am on Tue, Feb 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Pensions for government and education are getting out of control. It has become a habit in state law enforcement for people close to retirement to claim a disability because it ups the amount of money they would earn in retirement versus the amount they would earn without a disability. Check out these links:

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id=4792870

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2005_Jan_12/ai_n8689786

     
  • posted at 9:10 am on Tue, Feb 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Anyone who thinks that this pension windfall doesn't impact money available to be spent on other programs is kidding themselves. Money has to be diverted from the general education fund to fund pensions, PLUS other moneys from the state coffers.

     
  • posted at 8:24 am on Tue, Feb 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Here is a microcosm of the problem with Government (Union) run schools. The primary concern of the management is how to keep their jobs and salaries rather than how to best serve the students. When the Federal Government has to pass legislation that mandates student academic performance at the local level it is obvious that something stinks. It is time to have objective performance based evaluations of teachers and administrative staff in the public school system for the sake of our children and our future.

     
  • posted at 5:13 am on Tue, Feb 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    And what good does relieving him of his duties 2 days early. He still gets the retirement benefits. I agree that a temporary salary for a temporary job should not result in a permanent increase in retirement, but unfortunately that is how the pension system is set up. The people who set the benefits of the retirement system is the Democratic controlled legislature which is controlled by the teachers union.

     
  • posted at 3:42 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    RDHwildcard: I agree with your idea. Brilliant!

     
  • posted at 2:29 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    RDHwildcard, impressive idea.

     
  • posted at 10:54 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    "If they wanted to pay me less I would've done it," (But) I wouldn't have thought it was fair." - Casanega

    Is a permanent (due to retirement) 32% pay raise for four months of work really fair? I suppose he has friends in high places. Hell, the Lodi PD interim chief only got 5%.

    15% of his retirement comes directly from the school district and the state general fund. In this day and age with deficits and budget cuts how can any governmental operation actually and ethically afford large pay raises.

    Suggestion: relieve him of his duties as interim superintendent two days prior to his retirement now thats fair Mr. Casanega!

     
  • posted at 3:45 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    nylodian (8:21 AM): Well said!!!

     
  • posted at 3:45 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    vested:

    "...lay off those who are simply collecting the paycheck"

    PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

     
  • posted at 3:43 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    vested wrote on Feb 23, 2008 7:44 PM:

    "...how would you suggest the cuts are made?"

    Skim it right off the top and we'll be in the black.

     
  • posted at 2:21 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    I believe no one here would complain about the salary or retirement of this individual if ALL of LUSD schools were in top shape, had no overcrowding, had enough up to date materials for every child, had enough staff to optimally serve the students. How 'bout those "temporary" portable classrooms? I have an idea. Let the top administrators set up their offices in those, and have the students be taught in the posh District Office.

     
  • posted at 3:48 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Whatever amount of money ~ STRS (retirement fund) is not taking it from kids, anymore than any other retirement plan. As for where I would start with cuts? 1:Curriculum/programs/meetings and 'specialist' that promise results and bore the kids into silent brain waves. 2:Keep anyone with passion for their job and kid's learning, lay off those who are simply collecting the paycheck, counting the days til break or making sure they don't tread near the edge of their job description/required contract hours.

     
  • posted at 3:00 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Bob L, $5 an hour per kid? I've been giving the babysitter $10 per hour (plus all the liquor she can sneak out of my bar) for a 3 year old! Looks like I've been getting bad advice. Looks like she has a future in politics, or at least an administrator in education. Well, at least as a taxpayer, I should be used to it.

     
  • posted at 2:31 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    The teacher is one who made two ideas grow where only one grew before.
    Elbert Hubbard

     
  • posted at 2:25 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    The better half is always more prepared than I. She'll be ready, I'll pout.Good luck to you.

     
  • posted at 1:33 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    For this guy to get a $1 million pension windfal for taking an INTERIM POSITION for 3 months seems PATENTLY RIDICULOUS. Give him the salary increase, but someone shouldn't earn a permanent change in pension benefits for a TEMPORARY JOB at a TEMPORARY SALARY.

    That makes no sense (but then, when has anything the CTA negotiated for its members make sense?).

     
  • posted at 11:19 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Here's some food for thought: The average babysitter gets $5.00 per kid per hour. If we were to pay teachers this way, it would equate to roughly $216,000 per year (at 30 kids in a classroom x 6 hours per school day). I'm not sure what it means, but I'm considering a career change...

     
  • posted at 8:46 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    The next few weeks are going to be crazy, hope you and your wife are ready...benchmarks, report cards, yada yada yada...have a good afternoon y'all!

     
  • posted at 8:45 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    brokenl...thanks for the clarification! Sorry if I misread the intention of your post. Hey, the rain looks like it is taking a break...that's good news! There are times that I resent the job and the amount of time I spend at it, either at school or at home. In fact, at the start of the school year I really had to take a good look at my time and I realized that I was spending more time on my students than my own kids. That changed quickly.

     
  • posted at 7:43 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    "To be good is noble, but to teach others how to be good is noblerand less trouble."

    Mark Twain

     
  • posted at 7:38 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    And awobs, I too would rather spend my day with kids, all they want to do is have fun and laugh.One of the reasons I coach my kids in sports.

     
  • posted at 7:35 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Sorry if I sounded bitter....pouting today. Raining out,I can't go outside and play and she is at the puter.Poor me, thats my I'm rantin' here....apologies.

     
  • posted at 7:33 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    *realities of being a teacher.

     
  • posted at 7:32 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    I don't think Brokenl sounded bitter. I think he was just stating the realities of a teacher.

     
  • posted at 7:31 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    To clarify,neither of us hate it(though there are times I pout about the time it keeps her from me).Just trying to show the dedication and commitment.This salary is ludacris.Teachers due the job not for the pay but for the reward of sending kids on with more good in their head than when they got to you.The higher on the ladder you go the further you get from that until the things that become important are not related to children but to adults. Not what the education system should be based on.Besides,she'll never give it up,too much love for it.

     
  • posted at 7:20 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    But, I would much rather spend my days with 10 year olds than with adults! That is why I am off to my classroom on a Sunday, and happy to do it.

     
  • posted at 7:19 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Brokenl...I agree with citizen. It sounds as if you and your wife are bitter about her occupation so do something else. Casanega makes WAY more than I do as a teacher, that is not even up for argument. Yes, it irritates me that Casanega has consistently told union reps during negotiations that there was not enough money for the raises that teachers were asking for and now he asks for and gets a huge one.

     
  • posted at 6:37 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    awobs: *Well said! :-)

     
  • posted at 6:37 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    awobs: Weell said. I think we have all seen a teacher or two that do not enjoy what they do. We've also seen teachers that are saints in what they do and simply enjoy it everyday. THANK GOD for the later! You just can't get into teaching for the money. It will make you very unhappy becaue the money is not there.

     
  • posted at 6:25 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Wow brokenl, my wife is a teacher in Lodi. She puts in alot of hours but not nearly as much as your wife seems to be. Sounds like you and her both hate it so why doesnt she do something else with that masters. Lets not forget the 14 weeks off every year when you add up the breaks, holidays, and summer break. I know you are going to say she works through all of these. Don't get me wrong I agree that the top guys are way overpaid, but there are alot of advantages to being a teacher.

     
  • posted at 5:41 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    My wife teaches for Stockton USD, she makes a third of what this guy will get and she has a masters. She goes to work an hour early and stays usually 2 hours after.OUR money buys all the extra supplies that the distric can't "afford".It is Sunday and she is on the computer working on next weeks lessons.Tomorrow she will go back to dealing with 28 students,many of whom are still learning English (kindergarten),and all of their parents who don't speak it, as well as the parents who just "drop" lil' jonny off.Who will be doing more work,the-super-or-the-teacher?

     
  • posted at 5:25 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Whoa Nellie...be careful about what you get your kids into. Teaching is not as easy as you think and if your kids are not going into teaching for the right reasons than they will most likely hate what they are doing. Effective teachers enjoy the students and what they do.

     
  • posted at 5:16 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Whoa Nellie: "I am currently encouraging my kids to become school teachers for the retirement alone." How sad that you hold this idea. That proves you do not know much about teaching. If your kids also hold this belief, they'll be sorry to find out the reality once they start. They also might not even last that long to collect full retirement.

     
  • posted at 5:11 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    So, what is the correct amount? The RECORD reported a prorated $223,000, and it comes out to $1,000/day. This article says $186,000. If it is $186,000 I am okay with it because Huyett was making $199,000. He is replacing Huyett, even it is an interim position, he should be paid the same amount. People who complain about how much other people make need to go back to school, pick up some more skills, and get a job that will pay well. Running a school district at Lodi size is like running a small corporation.

     
  • posted at 1:56 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    citizen, you may be right but that is why I vote at election time. If I don't think the Board is doing a good job, I vote for someone else. Casanega did not give himself a pay raise, the Board did. I suspect this is the philosophy of the Board on how they treat County employees, not just compensation for Casanega.

     
  • posted at 4:21 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    If this person is getting paid that much money, he better be working 200 hours a week until he gets the school system fixed.

     
  • posted at 2:12 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Hey, I'm with you broken. When I attended Galt High in the 70s, we had a principal, vice-principal, and one counselor each for the boys and girls. This for a school of over 900 students. It seemed like these people were always walking around trying to look busy, because they usually weren't.

     
  • posted at 2:01 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    I bet my kids and their teachers would still be at school on monday if this position went vacant til then cogito.Unreal how top heavy most districts are.Hence the lack of hands on educators.Take this salary,hire more teachers and reduce class size.Hey look, I can do this job.And not be greedy, just give me 75 grand and summers off ;}

     
  • posted at 1:53 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    vested: "Kudos to the school board for not being able to make everyone happy."

    So, you are basically saying they are doing a great job by paying out the nose for this guy and the kids get zip....again. Does that really deserve a pat on the back?

     
  • posted at 1:52 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    vested: "how would you suggest the cuts are made?"

    I know! Don't hire the guy, period. Like Cogito said, "They could have left the position vacant for a few months and nobody would have noticed."

     
  • posted at 1:50 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Also, I think we all fall victim to the assumption that a public system is ran like a private business. Public school is run by unions, money based on scores, and not quality of product. Kudos to the school board for not being able to make everyone happy.

     
  • posted at 1:44 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Great forum...blogging! How many of those so appalled by the decline, $, decisions will actually get involved in a board meeting, PTA, School Site Counil, etc. With an $8 million budget cut coming, how would you suggest the cuts are made? Care to show up at a board meeting or get involved so you know why decisions are being made? Just some food thought ~ Get Vested!

     
  • posted at 1:30 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    THIS is exactly why there is always complainingly about not having enough money....

    It would appear that the school system has plenty, yet chooses poorly on how to spend it....

     
  • posted at 1:05 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    The next time I hear about how the schools don't have enough money to properly educate our children, I'll remind them of this kind of misspending. It's getting painfully obvious why there's not enough money for the kids. The PIGS at the top are taking their turn at the trough first and not leaving enough for anyone else. I will vote against every school bond until this nonsense stops. Trust me, this guy is not worth the money. They could have left the position vacant for a few months and nobody would have noticed.

     
  • posted at 12:45 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    CONSULTANTS!

     
  • posted at 12:44 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    There you go! Lodian... you're right at 6:05. If he gets that, then he better fix things. Here the diddy, after they're paid bookoo, they hire CONSULANTS!

     
  • posted at 12:08 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    oldguy: It's not that "Len" is disliked in any way. It is a money issue in that this kind of salary and compensation is extremely high. We just can't afford this kind of administration when the kids are getting zip.

     
  • posted at 12:05 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    DavidD: People aren't saying they are unhappy about this because they want the job and the money. They are all unhappy about this because it is our tax dollars going to waste and not being used for the education and quality of schools our children deserve.

     
  • posted at 11:08 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Okay all ready. The Board of Trustees did not do their job properly. Now let's let Mr. Casenaga do the job he was hired to do. He is an excellent choice for the interim; too bad he could not stay on for a few more years. He is not a nine to fiver by any means--he does work long hours and for the next few months will be doing the work of two people. Keep your head up Len, there are lots of people who appreciate all you have done for the district.

     
  • posted at 10:39 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    I can never understand why people complain that other people are paid too much. You could have had the same position and pay and benefits if you would have applied for his job. For whatever reason, you didn't, and now that's your loss. Don't think it's fair? Grab a job application and polish your resume. Then when you get hired, tell them you'll gladly accept half the going rate because you love our schools so much.

     
  • posted at 9:43 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Wow. So much for the kids come first, huh? I agree with GetUrHead... they can't find the money to repair our older schools, such as Lodi High, yet they found plenty for another suit who will rarely set foot in a classroom and do the "dirty work".

     
  • posted at 9:42 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Once again it is the civil servant (school employees, city, county & state workers) who is draining the tax coffers.

    Those of us in the "real world" would LOVE to retire with 90-100% of our final salary. We get a fraction from Social Security & have to invest a portion of our salaries into 401k's & other investments.

    I am currently encouraging my kids to become school teachers for the retirement alone.

     
  • posted at 7:32 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    wtf from articles in the Stkn Rec this compensation as well as all administrators comes from a different funds than the ones used for schools. I could be wrong but that is what I got out of it. I would hope with several administrative posts to be filled that they will use a little prudence. If not is there such a thing as recall?

     
  • posted at 7:30 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    First of all I am not a LUSD employee, but am somewhat familiar with the STRS retirement system and the numbers do not add up. Len's retirement will be based on his last 12 months because he has in the system more than 30 years. The increase in his salary is only for six months so his salary for retirement will be based on six months at his previous salary and his new salary for six months. He will not receive what is being reported. The district would have spent more upfront money hiring a interim sup. About $70,000.

     
  • posted at 5:49 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    By the way Jeff Thompson, aren't you in line too to received that padded top of the pyramid retirement? Where is the real T&C? The Good Ol Boys at work.

     
  • posted at 5:48 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    wtf, I agree. LUSD has too many "chiefs". We need to remember this wasteful spending the next time a school bond comes up. They want Moe Money, Moe Money, Moe Money to feed the top of their pyramid. To bad our kids are at the bottom of this pyramid. This is a shame.

     
  • posted at 5:26 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    And you wonder why the buildings are falling down and over crowed! Upper management in Schools are always keeping the $$$$ for them selfs!

     
  • posted at 4:46 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    To Fruitful47: In addition to what citizen has said, the objection is that there is too much administration. If the teachers were getting an increase in compensation, that would be one thing; they're the ones actually teaching the children. Over the years, I've seen a huge increase in "administration" in the school system as the education level has steadily decreased. And what does Arnold want to do? **More** budget cuts in education. Who will be cut? Primarily the teachers - it's the "administration" that has to be greatly reduced.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-me-schools21feb21,1,2906887.story

     
  • posted at 4:28 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    To: Fruitful, We are not talking about the base salary. We are talking about making 39,000 more a year for 25 years of retirement for doing a new job for approx. six months. You cant possibly think that is fair compensation?

     
  • posted at 4:10 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Do I have this right? Our Superintendent, school teachers and administrators should not be paid the same as in other school districts. OK, then guess where all the new school teachers, administrators and superintendents will move. I suspect, that Bill Huett had arranged this compensation before he left of the Board would not have been so easy to pursuade.

     
  • posted at 4:09 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    I agree with all of the posts. Something desperately needs to be done *especially* since there is all the talk of cut backs at the schools. Just doesn't make sense. Since this interim Supervisor will only be on the job for a little over three months, I wonder why they didn't have him actually perform first - then pay him after he's delivered - or even offer him the job. If the schools were up to par, this might be reasonable; but we all keep hearing about how education is going down the tubes.

     
  • posted at 3:56 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Are we supposed to be impressed because Michelle Madrid says he is such a great guy. Am I wrong or isn't this guy her boss now? Does anyone really expect her to say anything else? I am sure this guy is good, or even great at his job but that doesn't make this the right decision. For an extra million bucks for a new job for about six months I would expect him to be at work till 10:40 every night!

     
  • posted at 3:50 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Are you kidding me, the board didnt think how much this was going to cost the taxpayers for his retirement? This would be almost comical if it werent such a collosal waste of money. He even admitted that he would have taken less money but we threw a million bucks at him anyway. These people dont care because it isnt their money. If this were a private business it wouldnt happen because they would be spending their money not taxpayer cash.

     
  • posted at 2:51 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    "Trustee Jeff Thompson said the board considered Casanega's leadership qualities and not his retirement before giving him a raise." That was a huge mistake that will cost the district. What kind of non-thinking "leaders" do we have spending out educational dollars?

     
  • posted at 2:40 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Fruitful47 read the article on this in todays Stkn Rec. The board didn't even negotiate with him. They gave him the job first and then went into closed session and he told them what HE wanted and they gave it to him. No argument no negotiation. Now they want to cry that maybe they should have done different. It's a little late.

     
  • posted at 1:32 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    Does it really take this many people to run this district? Education has created these positions with obsence salaries at the expense of our children. A finance director makes sense to balance the books, but all the other Supes and directors under the Supe should start justifying their jobs. How much has the District Office staff grown in the past 10 years?

     
  • posted at 1:15 am on Sat, Feb 23, 2008.

    Posts:

    It's relatively easy to detect who the Sentinel supports and who they don't. If they don't like the School District, they will first go after their salaries, then their programs (diversity training), then their budget and then their Board members. But when Bill Huett was here, they could do no wrong. I suggest this article is an editorial and not news. Sorry Richard.

     
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