March 5, 2014

USA: Watch Infuriated Hawthorne and Lawndale Taxpayers Berate Centinela Valley School District School District Superintendent For ABSURD $663,365 Annual Salary >:/

These are the Board Members who approved his outrageous salary on the backs of the harworking people in this community. They unanimously approved his contract and claim they never read it. YEAH RIGHT! Dirty rotten scoundrels!!! SHAME ON THEM. >:/
The Daily Caller
written by Eric Owens
Thursday February 27, 2014

Earlier this week, unfortunate residents of the Centinela Valley School District (amid the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles) absolutely reamed district superintendent Jose Fernandez for his laughably exorbitant, perk-filled salary package.

On the backs of local taxpayers, the paper-pushing boss “earns” an annual salary of $665,365, reports KTLA.

In addition to the lucrative paycheck, the school board has also provided a sweetheart mortgage deal to help Fernandez buy his suburban home.

This mortgage benefit – a $910,000 loan at just 2 percent interest – was especially helpful for Fernandez, given his financial troubles. Fernandez recently emerged from bankruptcy.

Local home owners, parents and taxpayers showed up at a district school board meeting on Tuesday to express their righteous indignation.

“You are a disgrace to this country and to the Hispanic community,” declared one angry man as Fernandez sat quietly.

“It makes me wonder what you guys are all getting paid up there,” said a woman in the crowd in a comment directed to the school board members. “Because if you were able to allow this, what are your perks?”

“You guys are moving on up,” observed another man. “We in the ghetto get to pay all of your salaries.”

Fernandez oversees just four schools in a district that enrolls a grand total of 6,637 kids. At a yearly salary of $665,365 (not including the sweetheart mortgage deal), Fernandez receives almost $100 per student per year.

By way of comparison, just up the road, the Los Angeles Unified School District is home to some 900 schools and 655,494 students. The Los Angeles schools superintendent, John Deasy, makes $389,997 annually. So Deasy gets only 59 cents per student per year.

For another comparison, President Barack Obama’s salary is $400,000 per year.

A local newspaper, The Daily Breeze, first published Fernandez’s compensation package.


The Daily Breeze
written by Rebecca Kimitch
Thursday February 27, 2014

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s Public Integrity Division has received several complaints regarding Centinela Valley schools Superintendent Jose Fernandez, spokeswoman Jane Robison confirmed Thursday.

The complaints have come in recent weeks, after it was revealed Feb. 9 that Fernandez received $663,000 in total compensation last year.

Robison would not elaborate on the complaints nor say whether the District Attorney’s Office is conducting an investigation.

Hawthorne and Lawndale residents are growing increasingly angry with Fernandez and the Centinela Valley school board that granted him the lucrative contract. Though many residents had not heard of the contract a few weeks ago, more than 100 parents, residents and teachers lashed out Tuesday night at district leaders during a school board meeting.

Board member Hugo Rojas responded that he was not aware that he had approved such a large compensation package for Fernandez, who has been at the helm of the district since late 2008.

Many people voiced their outrage at the meeting.

“I propose that there be a special recall election for this whole board, and a criminal investigation into your breach of your fiduciary responsibilities,” said one man, prompting cheers.

Rojas was among four of the five current board members who unanimously approved Fernandez’s employment contract in late 2009. The contract includes a bevy of perks and benefits that added nearly $400,000 to his base salary of $271,000 in calendar year 2013. Although $215,000 of that came from a one-time expense, the contract grants Fernandez a 9 percent raise annually.

Centinela is made up of just three high schools — Lawndale, Leuzinger and Hawthorne — but Fernandez’s compensation in 2013 more than doubled his peers in larger South Bay districts and was much larger even than that of Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy. LAUSD serves nearly 100 times as many students as Centinela Valley — 650,000 compared to 6,600.

The district also gave Fernandez a $910,000 low-interest loan in 2012 to buy a Ladera Heights home, even though he was in the middle of his second bankruptcy.


The Daily Breeze
written by Rob Kuznia
Thursday February 27, 2014

After the fireworks died down at a raucous public meeting, the embattled Centinela Valley Union High School board this week hired a public relations consultant to help trumpet positive news amid a storm of bad publicity.

The board on Tuesday night voted 4-0, with member Gloria Ramos abstaining, to hire media consultant and award-winning journalist John Schwada at a cost not to exceed $24,000 under a contract with no end date. He will be paid $175 an hour.

The district serving three comprehensive high schools in Lawndale and Hawthorne is under fire for the extraordinary compensation package of Superintendent Jose Fernandez, who collected $663,000 in total compensation last year.

Tuesday night marked the first time the board had faced the public since the Daily Breeze revealed Fernandez’s compensation package in a Feb. 9 article, and the crowd of at least 100 was hostile.

Reached Wednesday, Schwada said that while many other school districts in the area employ a media-relations person, the Centinela Valley Union High School District has no such professional on staff.

“I have been very impressed by all the accomplishments of this district,” he said. “I’ve found that there has been no concerted effort to help the public understand that.”

He said, for instance, that the percentage of students reaching proficiency in math and English has surged by upwards of 30 percent since Fernandez took the helm in 2008.

“These are things that they should be bragging about,” he said. “I just don’t think that anybody has sufficiently informed the public about it.”

Teachers union President Jack Foreman — an outspoken critic of Fernandez’s contract — said he agrees that the district could do a better job touting its successes.

“I defend the progress in the educational programs in the district,” he said. “So I mean, maybe I’m being a little hypocritical by criticizing the media-consulting company, but no — I think it’s outrageous they would spend another significant sum of money on something to control the scandal that they have caused by approving this nutty contract.”

Schwada spent 35 years in journalism, working as a reporter for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the Los Angeles Times, as well as for Fox 11 News. The investigative reporter racked up two L.A.-area Emmy Awards, a Golden Mike and numerous Los Angeles Press Club awards.

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