In March 2019, California Globe reported Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and seven other administrators spent more than $35,000 to attend a six-day conference at the Harvard Business School, while the district teetered on the verge of insolvency, and under the threat of state takeover as it struggled with a $35 million budget gap.
Flash forward one year and SCUSD is still faltering; the district threatened to pink slip teachers right before the March 3 Primary Election. This is likely how the school district managed to convince voters within the Sacramento school district to vote to authorize the district to sell $750 million of bonds to improve schools’ facilities.
While this infusion of funding may stave off the bleeding for now, the Sacramento City Teachers Association just reported, “Superintendent Aguilar has taken a significant pay increase after stating last year that he would not accept a salary increase while the District had significant financial issues.”
In a March 25 email sent to union members titled, “SCUSD to Present Its Draft Plan for Distance Learning Tomorrow (Thursday), District Refuses to Pay Day-to-Day Subs, as the Superintendent Takes His Pay Increase,” the union questions district priorities.
Notably, the district is refusing “to pay short-term, day-to-day substitutes as required by Governor Newsom’s March 13 Executive Order,” during the shutdown of schools over the coronavirus crisis, which SCTA says is “saving the District $44,000 per day or more than $800,000 per month. We asked the District what it intended to spend the money on and received no response.”
SCTA: ‘The financial crisis must be over’
According to documents provided by the Sacramento School District, Superintendent Aguilar’s total compensation climbed from $380,692.47 to $414,818, an increase of $34,126 or 9.0% (see below).
This does not include Mr. Aguilar’s second salary from UC Merced.
“In contrast, a day-to-day substitute would have to work 155 out of the 180 instructional days in a school year to just earn the $34,000 in Mr. Aguilar’s salary increase,” SCTA reported. “It would take a substitute 10 years, or more than 1800 days of work–to earn Mr. Aguilar’s full annual compensation package.”
“It is truly unfortunate that SCUSD refuses to rank the economic well-being of staff as a high priority, just as the District put the health of hundreds of SEIU classified members at risk last week,” SCTA said. “As SEIU Local 1021 Chapter President Karla Faucett stated: ‘This is the same administration that treated classified employees like cannon fodder by forcing hundreds of non-essential staff to report to work at the SCUSD central office four days after Governor’s Newsom’s Executive Order closing schools. It’s outrageous that this disregard for SCUSD employees, in this case substitute teachers, is allowed to continue.'”
“The District found the money to increase Mr. Aguilar’s pay. But it doesn’t have to look for money for the substitutes–it’s already provided in the Governor’s Executive Order. Now the District just needs to follow the law.”