Public School Superintendent Paid $663,000 a Year

Jose Fernandez, the superintendent of the Centinela Valley Union High School District in southwest Los Angeles County, negotiated a contract “so loaded with out-of-the-ordinary perks that he managed to amass more than $663,000 in total compensation last year,” the Torrance Daily Breeze reports.

Mr. Fernandez, whose district includes four schools with a total of 6,667 students, received base pay of $271,000 in the 2013 calendar year, plus a $22,875 contribution to his retirement (to cover the “employee portion” of his retirement contributions), expenses totaling $63,000, $50,000 for days worked that exceeded the regular work year, $2,400 for a cell phone stipend, $12,000 for out-of-pocket expenses, $25,000 for a vacation payout, and $210,000 in a district reimbursement for “air time” service credit (the district’s purchase of five years of service credit to add to the number of years that Mr. Fernandez actually worked, to boost his pension when he retires).

Mr. Fernandez’s contract includes very generous fringe benefits, including:

  • An annual pay raise of 9 percent.A work year of 215 days (compared to as many as 245 days for superintendents in other districts).

  • The right to be paid extra for days worked beyond the relatively short contracted work year of 215 days.

  • A stipulation that he can be fired only by a supermajority of the school board (four of the five members).The ability to cash out unused vacation time.

  • An option to take a low-interest loan from the school district to purchase a home.

The Daily Breeze also reported that Mr. Fernandez has had only one performance review since he was hired in 2009.

A consultant with the Association of California School Administrators said this is the heftiest pay package she can recall seeing in California. (Source: Torrance Daily Breeze, February 8 and February 12.)

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