Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 at 7:27pm

14 Lake School Employees Belong to $100,000 Gold Club

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Schools One of Lake County’s Highest Payers – 73 earn more than 85K

A person who makes $50,000 per year based on 52 weeks/40-hours per week schedule makes $24.04 per hour.  According to the State of Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, the third quarter of 2009 average pay in Lake County for all jobs was $30,832 or $14.82 per hour.  Based on figures from the Agency, Lake County’s pay dropped 5% from the previous year.  We are saying out loud what most people already know – people are working harder for a lot less.

Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. did a public records request from the Lake County School Board, and our group asked for the names, positions, last increase date, and wages for each employee of Lake County Schools who makes more than $50,000 per year.  The numbers astounded us for the shear volume.  There are 551 instructional personnel who earn more than $50,000 per year, and there are 229 other (administrative) personnel who enjoy top pay.

There are 14 Lake County School District employees who make more than $100,000 per year, and all of them are in some form of administration.  Listed below are the names, annual salary, and title of these employees:

  1. Susan Moxley – $165,000 – Superintendent
  2. Nancy Velez – $105,970 – Chief Academic Officer
  3. Aurelia Cole – $103,000 – Chief of Administration
  4. Carol MacLeod – $103,000 – Chief of Business Services
  5. John Davis – $103,000 – Chief OP Operations
  6. Scott Merklinger – $100,000 – Exe Dir Educational Tech Servs
  7. Laurie Marshall – $102,970 – Exec Director, HR & EMP REL
  8. Pamela Chateauneuf – $100,795 – Principal-High
  9. David Bordenkircher – $101,785 – Principal-High
  10. Albert Larry – $101,785 – Principal-High
  11. June Dalton – $102,445- Principal-High
  12. John Miller – $102,445 – Principal-High
  13. Michael Elchenko – $102,610 – Principal-High
  14. David Cunningham – $102,610 – Principal-High

There are 59 other employees who make $85,000-$99,999 per year, and all of these people are listed under administration.  Based on the information provided to this group, there are 73 people in the school district who make more than $85,000 per year out of the 780 total who earn more than $50,000.

Here are some other points of interest on the pay issue with Lake County Schools:

  • 4 Achievement Liaison salaries range from $55,050 – $57,425.
  • 33 Counselors are paid in the salary range of $50,224 – $63,919.
  • 8 Curriculum Resource Teachers are paid in the range of $54,550 – $63,285.
  • 7 ESE School Specialists have salaries ranging from $55,050 – $57,425.
  • 18 Library/Media Specialists are paid $50,575 – $57,425.
  • 9 Literacy Coaches are paid in the range of $52,125 – $57,425.
  • 26 Program Specialists earn in the range of $51,224 – $66,214.
  • 11 Psychologists are paid in the range of $51,655 – 74,108.
  • 8 S/L Pathologists are paid in the range of $55,050 – $57,875.
  • 3 Social Workers earn salaries from $57,858 – $60,354.
  • 1 Student Advocate (bilingual) makes $51,473.
  • 412 teachers earn pay in the range of $50,575 – $79,111.

According to Carol MacLeod, all 12-month administrators have taken four furlough days without pay this year, but that does not affect most on this list.  In addition, a 1.5% salary increase is being given to the “instructional bargaining unit”, and it appears the four day furlough program is being dropped for next year.

What does this mean for Lake County taxpayers?  First of all, the old days of working for low pay at the school district are over, as many are making considerably more than the average citizen in Lake County.  The mantra of school employees everywhere is people employed by the school district earn less than anyone – it is simply not true.  This is without considering the time off for summer which, if accounted for, would really drive average hourly wages up.

Then the next card which is played to justify spending on school salaries is “kids are our most important resource.”  If so, then we’re not managing them too well in Lake County Schools, because the graduation rates and FCAT scores tell a disheartening story.  From a scientific point of view, the most important jobs in our society are those which sustain our actual lives and existence.  For example, the people who work every day to ensure clean, safe drinking water serve a far more important service to society than just about any other occupation, and many are paid far less than they are worth.  The point being made here is that many jobs in our society are critical to our survival, and many in these other fields have faced huge layoffs and salary cuts.

The real problem is government cannot pay their employees wages that are higher than the wages of those being taxed.  What Lake County government and the Lake County School District haven’t come to grips with is that the economy they’ve known for the last 20 years is gone.  The private sector began taking this bad medicine over two years ago, and most have reset their operations with lower wages and reduced services to match the reduced revenues.  The budget mess in Florida, Lake County, and the school district is only going to get much worse.  Now is the time for real leadership to emerge to reset positions and wage rates.  There must be a correlation between wages and the realities of revenues collected.  It appears Lake County’s current Superintendent, Dr. Susan Moxley, is a big spender who doesn’t mind paying political “thank yous.”

A 1.5% salary increase when unemployment is over 12.8% and the average taxpayer has seen wages drop by 5% shows poor planning, unrealistic expectations, and an inability to make hard decisions.  Our group is not anti-school or anti-teacher, but if the Lake County School District doesn’t immediately begin getting its labor in line to realities, there will be massive layoffs.  Understand, there are many unemployed in the private sector who wish they could have taken a 20% wage cut to stay employed.  If the Lake County School District doesn’t begin adjusting salaries and staffing levels to current realities, teachers will suffer the most.

Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. has the total list of those who make more than $50,000 available to anyone who would like to review it.  As we review the list, our concern is that we see a lot of apparent redundancies and some apparent political favors, and there might be others who could point these problems out in a clear fashion.  If you would like to attain a copy of this list confidentially, email us at lakecountygov@lakecountygov.

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