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Suburban schools superintendent earns $674,000; anger in Lawndale

Here's what the school board of a suburban Los Angeles district with 6,600 high school students and facing bankruptcy did a couple of years ago: it hired a new superintendent whom it paid $674,000 last year.

And now, after the Daily Breeze of Torrance blew the lid off Centinella Valley Union School District's pay package for superintendent Jose Fernandez, the board has suspended him pending a "review."

Board president Maritza Molina says the hostile reaction in and around the South Bay community of Lawndale to Fernandez's compensation "starts making us aware, reflecting on what we're doing."


For perspective, the public schools chief in New York City, the nation's largest district, earns $412,000; the head of Los Angeles Unified, the nation's second largest district, makes $393,000.

And as insult to injury, the LA Times reports that Fernandez's 2013 compensation was inflated by a one-time supplement of $230,000 to, get this, enable him to buy seniority in the state retirement system and thus collect a higher pension when he retires.

There's talk of a recall against Molina and the entire school board. Having given away the store, they appear to have few good options. If they choose to dump Fernandez--who by all accounts has done a good job--they'll owe him 18 months severance.

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