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We need teachers, not CEOs

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Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 12:00 am

We need to stop creating CEOs within our school districts and concentrate on schooling children.

In the article "Lodi Unified School District’s business officer gets a fresh title, new duties," Lodi News-Sentinel, Jan. 26, it states, "The business side is now sorted into two senior positions, with three tiers of directors beneath them. No one lost a job in the process and no one's pay was cut." That one job, at $150,000, would pay three teachers' salaries. Have we lost track of what school is for, or are we just in the business of creating more jobs and spending money?

I don't think the taxpayers passed this bond in November so the district could create more executive positions. A new job opened up in the food services department to manage nutrition requirements, develop menus and train new cooks. No wonder the cost of schooling has gone up. People in high positions spend their time and taxpayer money deciding what to buy next. That seems like a no-brainer, with no end to the money.

We need to get back to basics and cut the overhead, not figure out how to add to the debt. We might be surprised at the cost savings. If we don't do something now to control costs, it might be that Lodi Unified is too big to stop. I don't see money allocated toward children's education without somebody who has nothing to do with primary education wanting to get their hands on it.

Spend that money on teachers, not executive positions that only take from children's education.

Ben Coleman


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Patrick W Maple posted at 9:29 pm on Tue, Feb 5, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    I find it interesting that all of the smart people with all of the solutions are spending their time pontificating about subjects of which they know nothing nor have any experience in. Tele-mes purporting intelligent positions about women in combat and how old people's beliefs are not relevant to their world...or anyone else's for that matter.
    How about you drag some of your "smarts" over here and propose a few relevant verbs of wisdom that might result in a solution to the relevant question of why are the schools failing to produce intelligent persons equal to those of at least 30% of the rest of the world...or at least Haiti....Come here...fill these pages with your vast knowledge of science, philosophy, medicine, physics and humanity...I beg you please before it is too late...

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 2:36 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Doug: You are correct...although Karen Schauer seems to be doing a pretty good job at the elementary district. The GREAT superintendent that we did have was ran out of town by the agendized people who started calling her a lesbian (she wasn't) and other names. I remember Erv Hatzenbuehler chewing some idiots butt out for accusing her of that. Since then it has been down hill.

    BTW we tried while I was on the Board...but the elementary dist turned it down. There IS a movement afoot to have the public vote on it. I would like to see all of the districts combine and save the taxpayers about $2 Million per year.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 6:20 am on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 502

    Pat, your town seems to always be in turmoil with the same stale leadership and two school districts, both of which seem to waste money and merely keep the same old leadership team, many of whom have no new ideas, but just interested in their paychecks, not their students. You need to consolidate into one school district, with the best administrators and staff being retained from both and let those bean counters go find another similar job, which I doubt they could qualify for anywhere other than Galt.

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 10:49 pm on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Mike: 15% of a $20 million is a lot of discretionary spending every year...there are also other monies available in grants, hardship funds, bus replacement programs and other state and private sources. It takes work to get them but they are there. We built Estrellita HS with a $6 million critical hardship funded grant. Dr Hoffman and I were chastised by some of the Board for getting the funds! I also helped Arcohe get a grant to build a new $7 million middle school...by showing their Superintendent how and to whom to apply for funding. As a board we were also able to pass a bond and build a new school Liberty Ranch HS. The Board screwed that up after I left (because of heart problems). They overran the costs by nearly $22 million!
    It seems that none of them have gotten better with age. The point here is that none of them knew how to run a business...even though some were "business" people.

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 3:19 pm on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Go back a bit further and you will see how the GHS District spent $80 million building $48 million high school. Need more examples? How about Fresno City squeaking by with loans to prevent bankruptcy. And who do they give pay raises to? Incompetents...GHS is now in its 4th PI year...close to being taken over by the state...who do they elect? The same people who put them there. Of the 22 requirements in the academic testing they have met only 15...they are not getting better.

  • Mike Adams posted at 2:06 pm on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1561

    Pat, thank you for an excellent reply. Just a small test. You clearly are very knowledgeble on the subject (which 14 years would give you). I'm surprised that the number of new board members after each election come in to try to "shake things up" and end up "sounding like the person who held the seat before". I don't think the average citizen realizes how little of the budget a board has control over. Like you said, 80-85% is spent on salary and benefits. State mandates, federal programs isolate a lot of the remaining funds. Like you say, spend a little on maintainence put some away, leaves you with very, very little left over.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 12:46 pm on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Dr. Matthew Roberts, Galt JUSH District (current)

    "Roberts earned his doctoral degree from the University of the Pacific in educational administration, his Master of Arts in history and education at Northeastern University, and his Bachelor of Arts in history at the College of Notre Dame."

    Dr. Daisy Lee, Galt JUHS District (former)

    Lee received her Ed.D. in educational administration from University of the Pacific in Stockton. She also brings with her a strong background in teaching curriculum, having served for many years directly coaching teachers and principals in effective instruction.

    Dr. Karen Schauer, Galt JUES District (current)

    Couldn't find her educational background, but her employment history doesn't show one bit of "business experience" but rather extensive experience in curriculum.

    Not a single one with a degree in business.

    From the LNS regarding Galt JUES District:

    "The district is facing between a $2 million and $4 million budget shortfall in 2012-13, and is reliant on voters passing a tax initiative in November."

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 12:22 pm on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Mike: I served at both levels...6 yrs elementary at Arcohe and 8 on the high school board. I know and can read budgets...something many supers and below cannot. You are correct...schools are a not for profit business, however the function under the same business accumen as I do. Money in...properly and fairly allocated (most districts spend about 80 to 85 percent of their budget on salaries and benefits), money spent, some saved for a rainy day (required..usually 3 to 5 percent), some spent on maintenance and equipment such as computers. The basic business model are identical save for where the money comes from...the government...not private sector. Pretty simple.

    The Ed Code is no different than the codes that I or any other business or for that matter citizen must follow. Which includes: Ed Code, Penal Code, Constrution Codes, State and Federal Codes and a whole host of others. This is why most people who get elected and have no business experience become overwhelmed by the system and generally last only one term...some not even that long. I can't tell you how many times a board member would come to a meeting without even opening their information packets.

    The grade level is a subjective criteria...some kids belong in lower and some belong in higher levels...my daughter's IQ was 168...she hated school, but read all of the time...12th grade reading level in the 4th grade...my two sons were geniuses in their own rights in different areas. But that is the way the system is.

    Arthur: Your example is a good example of the public services sector...and what it takes to be successful. Good for you.

  • Arthur Vandelay posted at 10:12 am on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Arthur Vandelay Posts: 34

    Food Services funds cannot be used to hire teachers; that's not how the budget works. Also, what is wrong with having a position to manage nutrition requirements, develop menus and train new cooks, and how does that cause "the cost of schooling [to go] up"? If there wasn't someone making sure our kids were eating healthy meals at school, people would have a cow.

  • Jackson Scott posted at 8:09 am on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 392

    While Mikes point of the Education Code is valid, a district is a business in more ways then people realize. Ideally, I agree with Pat, District Supes & Directors should have some "real world" experience. They will know how to make payroll, cut waste, etc.

    Where Ben is incorrect, $150K will not pay for 3 teachers salaries.... and their benefits and retirement. Starting pay is just under $40K, and there are plenty of qualifed & experienced teachers with 1-5yrs under their belt. Thankfully alot of $90K++ boomers are retiring.

  • Mike Adams posted at 8:02 am on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1561

    So you're telling me that your schools in Galt weren't run under the education code and all the associated codes for things like design and construction? You're saying that your schools made a profit? That all the students left your system at grade level and capable to move on to the next level? Tell me where the business acumen is in the model your schools used to successfully to be sound educationally and financially.

    (I know you were a school board member, but can't remember if it was elementary or high school as Galt has separte districts for both so the outcomes for each board might have been different.)

    Trivia Question: What does the "Joint" stand for in Galt Joint Union High School?


  • Patrick W Maple posted at 7:30 am on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Mike: Then why do people get degrees in school administration and business? I spent 14 years on school Boards and when they were ran like a business they were successful...all 14 years. Every successful superintendent we hired and many of those I knew had business backgrounds.

  • Mike Adams posted at 7:24 am on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1561

    Patrick: Schools are not run like businesses because they aren't businesses. The operation of public schools is defined by the education code, the much maligned, several binders of what novices like to complain about. Nevermind it covers K-College, from elections to retirement.

    To perpetuate the falsehood that a school should be run like a business is wrong.
    Businesses are run like businesses. Schools are run like schools.

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 5:55 am on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Ben: You are correct...it is a business...unfortunately schools are not ran like businesses. Too often incompetent people are hired by incompetent incompetents who were voted in by duped or agendized voters. Too often the "buddy system" or crony capers take effect and the incompetency becomes rampant. THEN the idiocy takes over and the incompetents decide stuff...like the to hire more people who are generally incompetent (don't want boss incompetent to look bad)...to help because the great incompetrnt one can't handle the job.NOW IT GETS REALLY STUPID...the voters give them even more money and feel good because now their children will be able to get a better education from an incompetent system ran by an incompetent board who oversees an incompetent leader in charge of too many incompetent teachers stuck in an... you guessed it...incompetent and inefficient system. That was easy. The sad part is no on wants to fix it...

  • George Neely posted at 5:46 am on Tue, Jan 29, 2013.

    George Neely Posts: 12

    I commented on the original article as I thought a few key details were missing. I will post that comment again for those that missed it.
    First, the story did not mention a few important details. This change, as put together by Mr. Hern and Dr. Washer, will save the district over $100,000 annually. Reducing cost outside the classroom has been one of the goals of this Board since we were seated in 2010. Mr. Hern has been one of the chief engineers of that effort.
    The Assistant Superintendent position vacated with the recent retirement of Art Hand will not be filled. A logical question then is why didn’t we eliminate that position earlier? Truth is that not only was Mr. Hand very good at his job of keeping things working in this district while money was (is) very short, he was also VERY good at finding ways of bringing more money into the district. He brought in far more than was his salary. There is no replacing Art Hand. That said, we move on.
    Two years ago, when Mr. Hern came to Lodi, the Board of Education tasked him with finding a way to stop the cycle of layoffs that was destroying this district. He not only did that, but also put us back on firm financial footing despite continued declining revenues. Now that the decline in revenue has leveled off, and in fact we may see some small increases in the future, Lodi Unified has got to be prepared to use these funds in the best possible ways to meet the needs of our students. I have listened closely to Tim Hern’s ideas and plans, and I feel confident that we are in good hands.
    As far as the needing “CEO’s” comment, Lodi Unified has a budget of about $220 million. That money has got to be managed closely and efficiently, as it comes with many tightly tied little strings attached. The new structure that Mr. Hern and Dr. Washer have put in place allow us to not only achieve that goal, but at a reduced cost.
    Mr. Hern is our Chief Business Officer (CBO). He has made, and will continue to make, a significant difference for Lodi Unified and the tax payers of this district. We are fortunate to have him as part of our team.


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