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Salary Gap: Milpitas Unified Administrators vs. Teachers

See how much teachers make locally versus principals and superintendents.

Every year, the Mercury News compiles a list of public salaries.

The most recent data is a collection of the salaries of public employees from 2011. 

The pages and pages of information reveal a fact that is not surprising, but is important and worth discussing. In Milpitas, the superintendent earned $100,000 more than the highest-paid teacher in the entire Milpitas Unified School District.

In 2011, Karl Black made a base salary of $207,104 with a total employment cost of $288,726 including benefits. Mark Schoeller, an English teacher at Russell Middle School, earned $107,123 with a total employment cost of $130,778.

Over 100 teachers in the district earned salaries in the $80,000-$90,000 range in 2011 — a staggeringly high number for the job, which in other parts of the state pays far less.

However, there are also plenty of teachers earning considerably less than that — down in the $50,000-$60,000 range, and some even lower (including part-time teachers). Bus drivers, secretaries and maintenance workers are often paid in the $40,000 realm.

Remember, this is your tax money that pays these salaries, and your right to know and discuss. 

Check out the chart below with a sample of some of the salaries and then tell us: Should administrators make that much more than teachers? Do these salaries seem fair to you? Sound off in the comments!

Title Employee Salary Superintendent Karl Black $207,104 High School Principal Kenneth Schlaff $137,518 Middle School English Teacher Mark Schoeller $107,123 Second Grade Teacher Eileen Keating $96,015 Physical Education Teacher James Burns $83,442 Kindergarten Teacher Susan Von Tersch $73,695 High School English Teacher Danile McQuigg $56,228 Child Development Teacher Ellia Juta $45,965 Bus Driver Lori Butler $36,884
Rohit Sharma February 26, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Good reporting Jacob. MUSD board ousted last superintendent only to bring new superintendent Cary Matsuoka on a higher salary. Some of this money is traceable to $95 million Measure E bond (passed in 2012) against it mandate. And some of this is coming from measure B bond (passed in 2010). Find more information at http://www.milpitasschools.org/.
Michelle Eacret February 26, 2013 at 05:52 PM
While it is interesting to see some of these figures from 2 years ago, what is not reported is how long some of these teachers have worked in the school district or in the education field. Some of these salaries are higher because they have many years of service. When giving comparison's like this you should also list a low, medium, and high range in the same level. How about reporting the percentage of teachers and administrators that have less than 5 years of service, 5-10 years, etc. Then give their salaries.
Robert Jung February 26, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Absolutely agree with Michelle and Dan... this article doesn't give any background or basis to work with. It would also be interesting to see how it compares to averages of other districts.
Rohit Sharma February 26, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Good point Robert. Let's compare Cupertino and Milpitas Lincoln Elementary (Cupertino) Average Teacher Salary - $69,050 Lincoln Elementary (Cupertino) API - 980 Pomeroy Elementary School Average Teacher Salary - $95,000 Pomeroy Elementary School (Milpitas) - 901 Thank you for working with Educational board on Milpitas community educational fund. I believe it is doing well after measure E ($95Million) and measure B.
Samantha February 26, 2013 at 10:35 PM
OK - So you have someone who has to manage the complexities of government, versus some junior level teacher who just graduated from college who has to teach someone Run Spot Run. There are levels of workers in education just like there are workers in education. The teachers have a relatively easy job of it after the first year - once their routine work plans are in place which they drone through until they retire early at age 50....all at tax payer expense. What is shocking is how much the tax payers and seniors have to pay these part time workers who work from about 9 - 2 every day and skip home - just about the same time when the taxpayer is taking lunch hour and looking forward to six more hours work before returning home.
Samantha February 26, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Yeah Rohit Do you have any compassion for the seniors in Milpitas who have to pay outrageous salaries due to your lunatic measure E ($95Million) and measure B.
Samantha February 26, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Yep - once you get one of those lazy tenured teachers - they sit at their desks, ask their kids to play on the computers, or open a text, and no longer teach. The wages for our teachers are way too high Michelle and out of step with the rest of the community. So sad that we have so many lazy horrible teachers in our district.
Samantha February 26, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Way too high for such an easy job - that is part time with weeks and weeks of vacation and summer off. Most of these teachers given their short work hours make more than senior level executives at high technology companies in our community. It takes a teacher to not tell the truth Rohit. Given that teachers work 5 hours at work (and may do a little bit of work at night like any other worker who does not get paid for their work at home - teachers are no different), these part time teachers make the equivalent of $180,000 - $250,000 a year to teach basic reading... and the executives who work full time get paid about the same as they do not get hte perks of the horrible lazy teachers we have in our community such as you Rohit.
Satish Bansal February 27, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Samantha, you just too harsh, even your logic is correct. These high paid teachers with Principle approval ,even teaching 15 years old Math in their classes, when board bought 2 or 3 new editions of the book ( what a waste of millions of dollors). Students when reach middle and high school has a hard time to follow the teachers.
RegionResident February 27, 2013 at 04:26 AM
Samantha - NONE of your posts contain one shred of truth or fact. Wise-up! Why mouth-off against a work force that has not seen merit or cost of living raise in 5-6 years and still agrees to educate our children with their bachelors & masters degrees (minimum 6 years past high school) generally starting at 7:30 AM until 4 PM with less than 1/2 hour lunch... then still take 1-3 hours of work home. BTW, Sam, check out the constant & continuous state & federally mandated changes in curriculum every year. There is no “routine”! If you think it's watered down, it's only because some parents don't support and complain about the hard work it takes for their students to match the top educated countries of the world. Your flagrant lack of accuracy leads one to believe that you also know nothing about industry professional & executive salaries & benefit packages… nor do you bother to state at what salary a 30-40-year-experienced exec (or teacher) started 25-40 years ago. FYI-Most professionals (teachers included) are on salary curves with experience & education contributing to graduated salaries. Sooo…Sam…what happened? Did a "lazy" teacher dare flunk your precious child for not participating with fact-based answers or did your child not make the cut with the cheerleading squad or sports team? BTW...this is silicon valley country, one of the most expensive areas in the country. If you want to "pay" cheaper salaries, move to Idaho or Kansas or Alabama or .....
Rohit Sharma February 27, 2013 at 04:28 AM
Samantha - I did not support measure E or measure B because MUSD board did not offer any compelling case for $95M they imposed in local taxes. I just hope measure E oversight committee is NOT keeping the mouth shut over inappropriateness of funds. I do support seniors and volunteer my time in community service. Please let me know, if I could be of any service to you. The sad thing is that In Milpitas, 5,658 residents participated (22.86 percent) of 24,750 total registered voters during measure E vote. According to San Jose Mercury News, by Shannon Barry, n 06/06/2012, supporters of measure E were 1. Superintendent Cary Matsuoka 2. Board of Education Vice President Marsha Grilli 3. Her granddaughter Meghan Winston (5 year old currently in Curtner Elementary) 4. Trustee Danny Lau ref: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:V4qP-v7ym-QJ:www.mercurynews.com/milpitas/ci_20798408/milpitas-measure-e-passes-64-percent-support+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
Vivek P. February 27, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Hi Samantha, While your argument does have validity, in the public school system, often the teachers buy supplies for the children, throughout the year and also other additional reading and book materials which the school often does not have a budget for. I do not grudge the teachers a higher salary since some of them really support their families and work very hard on upgrading their own skills and the curriculum. Vivek.
Robert Jung February 27, 2013 at 11:06 PM
This is the problem with this data/article. Without basis and a complete picture, such as how long the teachers have worked, as well as the fact of using averages, it is impossible to draw any worthwhile conclusions. For example, the fact that the Cupertino Superintendent makes $256,354 ($345,193, TCOE) in 2011 isn't used in your comparison. I also have no idea what you're talking about in regard to the Educational board and the Milpitas community educational fund. If you mean the endowment that I run, it has absolutely no relation/connection to either measure, nor does the Board of Education have anything to do with it. But, at the end of the day, I'm only interested in improving the school district, thereby improving our community. API is only one measure of school effectiveness. A strong API is a result of teachers, students, parents and the community working together to provide the best possible educational experience to its students. So, if you're interested in improving the schools, then get involved with your school and figure how to help.

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