September 21, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Differences in New, Previous Superintendents’ Pay:

Last week it was announced that Sandra Lyon would be stepping in this summer as Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s superintendent. What was not announced were the terms of her employment with the district.

According to an item on the school board’s May 19 agenda, which will approve her selection, Lyon’s initial three-year contract includes a base salary of $230,000 for the 2011–12 academic year. This base salary will be renegotiated each year with the board and will be contingent upon the superintendent receiving a satisfactory evaluation. In addition, she will have to meet the goals and objectives mutually determined between herself and the board. After the initial three years, the contract can be extended in one-year increments.

Besides her base salary, the superintendent will also receive $900 per month as an allowance for car and cell phone expenses, $12,000 for relocation expenses, and medical and dental insurance coverage. Her contract includes up to $12,000 to pay for a coach during her first year of employment.

Lyon’s starting base salary is $10,000 more than that of retiring Superintendent Tim Cuneo, whose base salary is $220,000. However, unlike her predecessor, Lyon’s contract will not include a housing allowance. Cuneo received a housing allowance of $3,200 per month. John Deasy, who was superintendent from July 2001 until June 2006, received a housing allowance, of $1,500 per month. Deasy’s successor, Dianne Talarico, who served as superintendent from August 2006 through June 2008, did not receive a housing allowance.

Lyon’s contract does not include the 10 percent performance bonus that was included in the contracts for the three prior superintendents. Retiring superintendent Cuneo did not take his performance bonuses because of the deteriorating state of the district’s budget over the last two years.

Talarico had an annual base salary of $182,000, and Deasy’s annual base salary was $100,000. Talarico’s contract, like Lyon’s, included $1,000 per month for a mentor coach, but the time for this service was not limited to one year.

Deasy is receiving an annual base salary of $275,000 as superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District. The superintendent for the Culver City Unified School District, Patricia Jaffe, has an annual base salary of $201,000; while the interim superintendent for the Beverly Hills Unified School District is receiving $1,100 per day (which equates to $247,500 annually).

Lyon’s contract will be reviewed for approval at the May 19 meeting (after this issue had already gone to the press).

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