School District Managing to Pay Management

By Robert Schussel, Ph.D

To compare the Management Pay of VCUSD (Vallejo City Unified School District) employees with those in other Solano County school districts.

A frequent complaint of the critics of the VCUSD is that VCUSD Management is overpaid while teachers’ pay is not competitive. These critics also believe that the School District is top heavy because it has too many administrators.

1) Some of the job titles can vary significantly from district to district. Thus some caution is needed when making comparisons across districts. The below table is an example in which only two of the Director titles are similar.

VCUSD Directors Vacaville Directors

2) When comparing management staff, the size of the district needs to be considered. The smaller districts such as Dixon, Benicia and Travis have significantly fewer administers than do VCUSD, Vacaville and Fairfield Unified.

3) The number of school Principals in a district is determined solely by the number of schools in a district.

4) Total pay (W2) is used in this report. A districts contribution for pensions and health insurance is not included.


1) Pay for management positions in VCUSD (most are housed on Mare Island) is average/competitive with the other school districts in Solano County. In comparison VCUSD teachers had not received a raise in 8 years.

  • VCUSD’s Superintendents pay is in the 2nd highest compared to those in other Solano County School Districts
  • Fairfield Suisun Unified School District tends to pay the most for Management positions.
  • VCUSD and Vacaville Unified are similar in size (number of students) and pay.

Oct 9 Part II Management Pay1 doc

  •  With the exception of Fairfield, VCUSD’s Associate Superintendent is the highest paid Assoc. Superintendent in Solano County.The higher pay in part is probably due to the longevity of VCUSDs Associate Superintendent.

Oct 9 Part II Management Pay2 doc

  • For both the Directors and Coordinators positions, VCUSD wages are competitive with the other School Districts in Solano County.
  • While VCUSD’s pay for Directors is similar to Vacaville Unified, VCUSD’s Coordinators are making about $10,000 more on average than those in Vacaville Unified.
  • Although similar in size, VCUSD has significantly more (9) Coordinators than does Vacaville Unified (3).
  • Smaller Districts (Dixon, Travis & Benicia) typically have few if any Directors & Coordinators.

Oct 9 Part II Management Pay3 doc


Oct 9 Part II Management Pay4 doc


2) Compared to VCUSD non-teaching management, VCUSD Principals average pay is the lowest compared to principals in other Solano County School Districts (with the exception of high school principals at Dixon Unified).

  • Vacaville Unified which is similar in size to VCUSD is currently paying its Principals significantly more than does VCUSD.

Oct 9 Part II Management Pay5 doc


Oct 9 Part II Management Pay6 doc

Oct 9 Part II Management Pay7 doc
Due to a lack of pay raises VCUSD teachers and principals are earning significantly less than those in other Solano County school districts. To be blunt: The wages are no longer competitive. The same cannot be said for VCUSD management.

While the School Board said the Bankruptcy and State receivership were the reason most of the districts employees haven’t received raises for almost 8 years, somehow the Management level wages were kept competitive.


Final thoughts
The VCUSD is losing teachers and principals at an alarming rate. The School Board needs to be more proactive and find ways to provide competitive wages for its teachers and principals. Is there money being spent on administrators and consultants etc. that could be used for teacher raises? An article in the October 13th San Francisco Chronicle stated teacher retention is a key factor in having good schools. The School Board will need to make some hard choices. So far the VCUSD School Board gets an F.





'School District Managing to Pay Management' have 16 comments

  1. October 17, 2014 @ 11:40 pm Paula Mc Connell

    This is a wonderfully researched article. It is astounding to see how little valued principals are in Vallejo schools as compared to other much smaller cities in the county. It is also overwhelming to see that Vallejo’s superintendent has nine – count them – nine coordinators as opposed to most other cities. Dr. Robert Schussel’s comparison with the number of coordinators in Vacaville -three- is very telling. We understand that many friends and relatives have been given high paying positions in the Vallejo school district. Some purport that nepotism is rampant. Just why does Vallejo’s superintendent need NINE coordinators? Is that how they are able to hire friends and sorority sisters as some have suggested? The Vallejo school bosses have created a top heavy administration and have let the teachers eat cake. It’s no wonder teachers are pouring out of the Vallejo schools. They are obviously leaving for other districts where they are more appreciated, honored and respected. We need change on the school board, now before it is too late. There are already over 60 classes without permanent teachers in Vallejo’s schools. Instead, substitutes are in the classrooms. Please vote on November 4th. Your vote for change can and will make a difference.


    • October 20, 2014 @ 10:13 pm Former substitute

      The substitutes are quitting left and right as well. And I talked to Tony Ublade about the crisis in the classrooms, he is in deep denial, he doesn’t want to hear about, all he does is passes around his business card lying to people that our schools are getting better. Ublade is a huge liar!! They even can’t get substitutes to fill in anymore, because Bishop has forced the subs to sit through mandatory sessions about restorative justice bull. She doesn’t see the fights in he classroom, but she will blame a substitute teacher because they are white. Bishop needs to pack her bags!!!


  2. October 18, 2014 @ 8:34 am Bong Hit

    The pay is not the primary reason we are loosing employees. I’m told the main reasons are lack of support in the schools for dealing with the violent and disruptive kids, lack of communication and leadership from administration and then pay rates. Increasing the pay alone will not solve the problem.


  3. Monica

    October 18, 2014 @ 12:38 pm Monica

    Don’t forgot the receivership necessitated additional oversight for the departments that were corrupt when Worel , Verder-Aliga, and Wilson were on the board. Having what appears to be top heavy upper administration is a necessary evil. No quality administrators answered the call for a superintendent for a bankrupt city that had just kicked out the last superintendent after less than two years for less than what our superintendent is paid. It’s called free market economy. Once again, blaming the wrong persons here, Marc. The stats reflect apples and oranges. What should be compared are the stats from other Bay Area districts that went bankrupt and into receivership. How much did they have to pay to get high quality administrators to fix the mess that the prior boards had created?


    • monica

      October 18, 2014 @ 12:46 pm monica

      No matter how you slice it, VCUSD is like no other district in our county. I’d also like to know why VCUSD is its own SELPA? This is part of the reason our special education department is such a mess. Poor Mr. Anich is pedaling as fast as he can, but how do you deal with the sheer numbers of kids with significant physical, emotional, intellectual, and the behavioral disabilities that often accompany those conditions. We have huge numbers here, and it will only grow. Our special education services are out of compliance with IDEA and for years there were teachers in those classrooms who didn’t have the special ed credentials, and if they did, they were NEVER observed or evaluated before those teachers earned tenure. We need an entirely new board, and we will have one in three years after the next election.

      And BTW, did you know that according to federal and state law, gifted and talented education is part of special education?


    • October 19, 2014 @ 4:01 pm worthlessbishop

      I really like how you seem to have an excuse for everything Ramona does. Answer me this, Monica. Did you know that current HR director didn’t even interview for the job? She had been principal at Vallejo Middle, then the principal of the 9th grade academy at VHS and then all of sudden, she’s the director of HR. Her only qualification seems to be as niece of the former HR director, Nona, and of course, sorority affiliation.

      One would think that if a district was taken over due to fiscal mismanagement, then one would be more prudent about its hiring practices. I also don’t think top dollar has brought about top talent in the sinking ship that is the Taj Mahal of Mare Island. Remember three grand jury reports and a failed WASC report under Ramona’s watch & her so-called top dollar district administrators. I really don’t know what it will take for Ramona’s cheerleaders to see the light.


      • Monica

        October 20, 2014 @ 5:16 pm Monica

        It is not unusual for districts to appoint from within; yes, I knew. The programs that Dr. Bishop has introduced are sound educational moves. The district office is hardly a Taj Mahal. Many offices don’t even have heat or air conditioning. Office equipment is old and failing. I agree that the pathetic WASC visit was unforgivable. NO ONE allows that to happen. I also agree that conditions in the district are unsafe at the secondary (6-12) level. I was assaulted in a classroom as well as the victim of theft. It is not easy to teach in Vallejo. It is not easy to be an administrator in Vallejo (I’ve done both).

        We need a new school board to direct Dr. Bishop to respond to the constituency. We need a new school board to direct Dr. Bishop to evaluate all staff every other year. We need a new school board to direct Dr. Bishop to explain programs to the electorate as well as the school community, and to show us all the research base for the programs.

        Dr. Bishop is a strong superintendent with the skills VCUSD needs. It may be said that she is so strong that the board is overwhelmed. That is not her fault. The board is in charge; we need board members who have the knowledge and the chutzpah to be in charge.


    • October 19, 2014 @ 4:58 pm School reporter

      Here is a link to the phone directory for the Taj Mahal aka VCUSD Administration Building on Mare Island. Currently there are about 120 individuals listed. Want to comment on whether their top heaviness is such a wonderful thing?


      • Monica

        October 20, 2014 @ 5:25 pm Monica

        Have you compared that list to the list of other districts that have declared bankruptcy shortly after exiting receivership? Do the research. Again: apples and oranges. Elect a new board to properly manage this strong administrator. The alternative is to find another superintendent with the skills to get the job done. Have that person do so in the 3 years many have thought is sufficient time to make the dozens of systemic changes that must be made WITHOUT incurring litigation, labor stoppage, and other expensive actions that rushing these changes would create. A third alternative is to initiate trustees by neighborhood districts. Seven districts represented on the board would change everything.


        • October 20, 2014 @ 7:12 pm wharf rat

          Monica are you living in a vacuum ,, PE in Vallejo is the largest employer and possibly the largest economy in Vallejo second only to healthcare … Social services might be second ,, GDP left the map years ago , local government is way low on the list , but probably has the lowest return for dollar spent of all , categories ..
          Untill we determine who butters our bread , we will continue to tread water .. Please do your home work …


          • October 20, 2014 @ 11:55 pm wharf rat

            And further Monica , it was great when you contained your self to the Times / nothing , if a person of your narrow intellect taught my kids I would have removed them from your class at warp speed … Perhaps looking inwards might just spread some light on just what is wrong with Our School system …. Your lack of focus , and the big picture seems endemic with all that is not of quality , and in fact the major VIOLATION of our Childrens vested rights with exception of course to those attending a private School , or a charter School , where courageous Educators protect them from a corrupt District Enterprise … Would be nice to be able to call 911 to report the crimes against our Families , yes Families as so well stated by the PRINCIPAL of MITA , a far-thinking and grounded Administrator , who understands that Student number 347 is also a Child who is a member of a Family who are in kind a component of the bigger Family , that comprises a School , one ‘if managed well’ can be a model of Society …. Perhaps this is feared by some , numbers and reality can be a bitch especially when one is on the low end … To earn one must learn ……..

          • Monica

            November 1, 2014 @ 9:00 am Monica

            I have never said it’s not a mess, Wharf Rat. What I’ve said is that the instructional programs that have been introduced are sound. Dr. Schussel’s analysis, as always, is spot on. I’m disturbed by the disappearing line between church and state in our city government and in our school system. I am disturbed by the low pay of those who work most closely to the children. I’m disturbed by individuals who prefer to call names rather than to extend their research to a much broader picture of how the most complex system in our state operates, especially when in the situation that VCUSD is in. The mess in the district dates back decades, as Jon Riley has stated, and it’s going to take more than the current finger-pointing campaign to repair it. I continue to hold that we need a board willing to communicate with the electorate and to really manage its employees, from the superintendent on down, to create a school system that serves ALL of its stakeholders, you, me, our grandchildren, strangers’ kids, well.

          • silasbarnabe

            November 1, 2014 @ 12:38 pm silasbarnabe

            I have yet to see any verifiable;e research you have presented…yet you ask others to produce what you have not. Now about your finger pointing reference and Jon Riley, you must be drinking his Kool Aid and I guarantee it is 100 proof. Jon Riley, Matt Mustard, The IAFF, VPOA and others have spent the last 7 years badmouthing and destroying the reputation of Vallejo when they no longer received the compensation they wanted. Seven years of smearing a town and now Jon Jon has conveniently forgot his part in this and wants to hold a waterfront celebration and make statements about finger pointing to right a mess he and his minions are largeley responsible for.

  4. October 21, 2014 @ 2:44 am Meredith Gregory

    417 Butte Street


  5. October 21, 2014 @ 3:29 am Meredith Gregory

    An open letter to the VUSD. As I read all this negativity about our schools, watch the video of some of your attitudes while teachers were expressing how they feel, I began to wonder about a few of you. Like, have you no shame at the way you act? Maybe you don’t realize it, but acting superior to others is so wrong. Believe it or not, you are not superior to others, and have you ever watched yourselves on the videos? If not, perhaps you should.

    So, here are my questions for the Board and as tax-paying citizens of this city, we deserve answers to these and more.
    1. Why is it that your salaries are so high, especially compared to the pittance your teachers earn? What do you do that justifies
    2. Do any have Teaching Credentials? Perhaps you might think it’s not important, but it is. If you don’t have any, what, if any
    other degrees or certificates have you earned that qualifies you to make any decisions where children are concerned? Even
    care workers have to have Early Childhood Education Certificates.
    3. Do you now have any children who are now enrolled or attended a Vallejo PUBLIC School? Any public school at all?
    4. Have any members EVER visited any of Vallejo’s schools, either by announcing that you’re coming or just dropping in to
    see how things are going? Have you ever just chatted with any teachers, asking about how things are going, do they need
    some kind of support that perhaps you can help them with or arrange? Do you even know any teachers on a first name basis?
    The few teachers I’ve spoken with say they have never seen any Board Members at their schools. Shameful, is it because you
    fear for your safety? That’s the real reason that, according to at least one Board Member, you’ve never noticed any bulling at
    VHS. A person actually has to go, physically, to VHS, and spend time observing, while not being obvious, what really goes

    The bottom line here is that a few of you have not been doing your jobs. People who don’t do their jobs, find themselves unemployed. There is plenty other items that could be mentioned, but for now, that’s all. And please submit your answers to each question, in essay form, at least 1 paragraph per question and submit them to this site.

    Thank You


  6. October 21, 2014 @ 7:44 am Salty Dog

    Point of clarification, Meredith:

    Point 1. School trustees generally receive a monthly stipend to cover meetings/travel expenses and, I understand, medical benefits. They are public servants whose role is to bring community values/concerns to the Board table as part of its policy development function. They aren’t and should not be there for the money. What they receive is more symbolic than reflecting competitive wages.

    Point 2: While helpful, not having a teaching degree is not fatal to trusteeship. Trustees are a reflection of the community and their primary function is to drag those community issues/values kicking and screaming to the Board table for consideration. That doesn’t require a degree; it does require moral courage.


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