Reprinted from Wednesday's San Jose Mercury News:
It's hard to say which is more shocking: the outlandish salaries collected by executives of the California School Boards Association, whose executive director, Scott Plotkin, pulled down $404,000 last year alone — a 52 percent increase from three years earlier — or the fact that some members of the board didn't seem to know or even care how much he was making.
Plotkin clearly knew he was raking in an embarrassment of riches, since he took the trouble to lie about it. Now he's retiring — but the damage is done. Seeing the amounts paid to the director and his ample executive staff, six of whom made between $150,000 and $207,000 last year, how can anti-tax activists not feel vindicated? They argue that the education establishment is bloated, while the school boards association, with Plotkin carrying the banner, has been crying poor.
The association is funded partly with tax dollars that come from individual districts, most of which are dealing with layoffs, higher class sizes and other casualties of shrinking budgets. Its board, which includes some Bay Area members, needs to get a grip on its own finances. Plotkin may have been a great lobbyist for school funding, but the disclosure of poor spending controls by school board members in the association has seriously damaged the cause.