Retired educators receive more than $100,000 annually

June 29, 2011

As public pension reform takes center stage in Sacramento, the number of newly retired school administrators earning more than $100,000 a year jumped 650 percent between 2005 and 2011. [Sacramento Bee]

Six-figure payouts to retired educators increased from 700 to 5,400, according to a review of data from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

School administrators will earn more during their retirement than most Californians will make during their working careers, the Bee reported.

Booming administrator salaries have contributed to the trend. On average, school administrators earned $168,000 in base pay last year, roughly 56 percent more than they did 10 years ago, according to data from the California Department of Education.

CalSTRS serves teachers and administrators in the state’s community colleges and school districts, and is the nation’s second-largest public pension fund behind the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which, as reported by The Bee earlier this month, also has seen a surge in $100,000 pensions.

Most CalSTRS retirees are teachers, and the average annual benefit for those who retired last year is $49,000.

The pension has its share of financial problems as other public pension systems but the difficulties are due primarily as a result of investment losses, broad pay raises and boosts in benefits, not six-figure retirement salaries.

Californians for Pension Reform reports that the following pensioners from San Luis Obispo County school districts receive more than $100,000 annually. Here are the monthly and annual breakdowns by district:

Atascadero Unified

James L. Stecher    $10,536.56   –   $126,438.72

Coast Unified

Denis M. Declercq    $8,966.09   –  $107,593.08

Lucia Mar Unified

Sidney C. Richison   $10,585.38   –  $127,024.56

Sharon R. Roemer   $8,369.13   –  $100,429.56

Paso Robles Joint Unified

John D. Morse   $9,456.80   –  $113,481.60

Edwin A. Railsback   $8,936.68   –  $107,240.16

Patrick J. Sayne   $9,031.52  –   $108,378.24

Pleasant Valley Joint Union Elementary

C.L. Cartwright   $9,946.72   –  $119,360.64

Julie A. Cavaliere    $11,151.11   –  $133,813.32

Patrick Fitzgerald   $8,793.95   –  $105,527.40

Howard Hamilton   $11,863.84  –   $142,366.08

James R. Voss   $9,103.52   –  $109,242.24

San Luis Coastal Unified

Nancy E. Howland   $10,238.79   –  $122,865.48

Mary A. Matakovich   $12,276.04   –  $147,312.48

Edward Valentine   $19,675.61   –  $236,107.32

Peter J. Zotovich   $10,132.79  –   $121,593.48

San Luis Obispo County Community College District

Lewis L. Bedell    $8,467.35   –  $101,608.20

Susan M. Dressler   $10,908.86  –   $130,906.32

William L. Fairbanks    $10,221.28   –  $122,655.36

Randall D. Gold    $8,897.40  –   $106,768.80

Warren E. Hansen   $8,539.60  –   $102,475.20

Allan R. Marshall   $8,908.43  –   $106,901.16

Mary N. Parker   $9,961.02   –  $119,532.24

San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

John D. Barnhart   $11,577.86  –   $138,934.32

Jeanne E. Dukes    $8,632.46   –  $103,589.52

Templeton Unified School District

Richard G. Duke    $8,573.15   –  $102,877.80


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I have a sister and two neices that are teachers. One actually a teacher of the year up in the bay area. All three make more than $70,000.00 each per year.

Seems like a lot of money for 9 months a year. They have even told me that.

I’m pleasantly surprised that Dean Smith is not on this list. How in the world did a small school district like Pleasant Valley end up paying pensions to so many for so much?

This article does not list the greatest problem with public employee pensions and that is the concept of “defined benefit”.

The rest of us out there in the cold cruel world live with a defined contribution. If our retirement contribution investments from either our employer or our own go sour then our pension follows it along into the tank.

CalPERS and CalSTRS on the other hand are out there investing in the market place just like the rest of us with one exception, they have no risk. If the market goes up well their pension fund grows. If the market tanks and the pension fund becomes an unfunded liability, guess who pays? The taxpayer….for the second time.

If they want a defined benefit then they should have their investment pool in treasury bills or the bank, something secure and probably a very modest return. If they want to play in the market, then get rid of the defined benefit and live with the risk that the rest of us serfs live with.

The pension plays in the higher risk markets because they need cash to not only pay their pensioners, they also need to pay their lobbying firm and fund their PAC’s to reelect their political cronies. In short, they are no different than the wall street investment bankers and CEO’s with their plush payouts and bonuses.

It’s not the teacher’s fault or the administrator’s fault or the school board’s fault, it’s our fault. We have let all of this happen by not being willing to be personally involved.

The myth of the underpaid teacher is a perverse joke. Here in SLO county a starting teacher earns roughly $40k per year, at tenure roughly $60k per year, and at retirement roughly $80k per year.

Scheduled holidays like thanksgiving, xmas, easter and summer reduce the work year to 38 weeks before generous sick leave etc is deducted, which means a starting teacher makes roughly $1,000/wk, at tenure roughly $1,600/wk and then max at $2,100/wk. This is salary alone not including pension costs which are worth roughly an additional $15,000 per year over the work life of 30 years which makes the benefit received roughly $1,400/wk for a new hire, $2,000/wk at tenure, and then $2,500/wk into the sunset.

Tell me again they are underpaid for a 40hr/wk job with no accountability, no chance of ever being fired, and no performance or value added requirements. Tell me also how this system could ever be expected to achieve any measure of success except for the adults who are employed in this massive failure.

We’ve got high school graduates without any marketable skills, some of whom are unable to read their own diploma. Did we get our money’s worth?