School Board Approves Pay Raises

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By Daniel Langhorne, Special to the Independent

Laguna Beach Superintendent of Schools Jason Viloria will earn more than $300,000 per year if he stays with the district until the 2021-22 school year, according to a contract approved by the school board Tuesday.

On Monday, Viloria will receive an 8 percent raise, putting his base salary for the 2019-20 school year at $281,464. He also receives a $250 per month allowance to pay for his cell phone, internet, and other business expenses and is entitled to annually take up to 25 vacation days.

Viloria sparked controversy last year by encouraging the Board of Education to amend the academic calendar to bring students back to school the week before Labor Day and conclude first-semester instruction and finals at the winter break. The goal is to give students the holidays off from studying and align the academic calendar with those of community colleges.

“Sometimes when you take strides to make changes in an organization, you incur upset and I think that comes with the territory when you seek to improve,” Board president Jan Vickers said. “I think it’s incumbent on as us as board members, since we are your employers, to make sure that we give support and recognition,” she said to Viloria.

Board member Carol Normandin said her research showed that Viloria’s salary ranks below 150 superintendents in the state.

At the adjacent Newport-Mesa Unified School District, Superintendent Fred Navarro receives a base salary of $275,945 for overseeing a district with about 22,000 students. However, he also receives annual performance bonuses based on the Board of Education’s evaluation—last year he was awarded a $29,812 bonus.

As another comparision, Superintendent Mark Johnson of the Fountain Valley School District receives a base salary of $240,199 for overseeing 6,300 students.

Board member Peggy Wolff commended Viloria for his role in improving accountability, supporting teachers to implement new curriculum, and offering new tools for students and parents to communicate with the district.

“We’re always continuously willing to adapt and improve, and for that, I’m really grateful for the leadership, and for me, I think it’s a worthwhile investment,” Wolff said. 

Leisa Winston, assistant superintendent of human resources and public communications, received a 4 percent raise starting July 1, bringing her base salary to $230,178. She’s not scheduled to receive another raise until 2022-23.

Jeff Dixon, assistant superintendent of business services, received a 6.5 percent raise July 1, bringing him to $199,739. Dixon is scheduled to earn $211,171 as a base salary if stays with the District until 2021-22.

Like other management employees, Winston and Dixon also receive a master’s degree increment of $3,050 and a doctoral increment of $2,500 for having advanced degrees.

The District also agreed to 4 percent salary increases this year for members of the Laguna Beach Unified Faculty Association and the California School Employees Association, according to the staff report.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Your article neglects to say how many students are in our district. We have four schools, yet the highest salary by far. Fountain Valley has 10 schools, Newport-Mesa has at least 32 schools. Please add an additional note to your article, so we have all the relevant information.

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