Days after the chief financial officer for the San Diego Unified School District was quoted as saying the cash-strapped district had “hundreds of excess employees”, San Diego’s school superintendent apologized.
On Monday, SDUSD Superintendent Bill Kowba apologized for statements made by CFO Stan Dobbs in an interview that was published in full by voiceofsandiego Friday.
"His interview offered his own candid assessment of the financial condition of the district," Kowba wrote, "Unfortunately it also includes several factual errors and misstatements that need correction."
“The public needs to know that this district does not have hundreds of excess staff who are not serving our students,” Kowba said.
In talking with our media partner voiceofsandiego, Dobbs, who has been employed by the district for 60 days, discussed how he felt the district could better balance its budget.
He spoke about transparency and about providing budgets people could understand and follow where tax dollars go.
But, in giving specifics, Dobbs stepped on some toes.
Dobbs made several remarks that one board member said “insulted just about everyone in the district, at all levels.”
In the audio-taped interview, Dobbs told the news website that there are hundreds of excess employees – “everywhere” and no documented proof smaller class size improves learning.
Kowba addressed these points saying “ Stan is incorrect when he stated that there is no research about the importance of class sizes. On the contrary, there is a body of research
supporting smaller class sizes…”
Of Dobbs’ excess employees remark, Kowba wrote “I can only surmise that Stan was referring to our stated need to reduce staffing levels as part of our budget reduction strategy for 2013/14.”
Among the claims Dobbs made in the interview was that the average teacher salary was $92,000 a school year to which he added that it was “ridiculous” that employees do not contribute to the cost of benefits.
“Out of 14, almost 17,000 people, that you’re playing 100 percent of all their benefits, their spouses, their kids and anyone else put in there. In 2013, that’s ridiculous,” he told the voiceofsandiego.
“I was surprised by some of the things that were said particularly this idea that San Diego has hundreds of employees it does not need,” said SDUSD President John Lee Evans.
Evans sought to clarify what he called misinformation. For example, he said the average teacher salary is $65-$70,0000 plus benefits.
While Evans would not say whether he felt the CFO acted irresponsibly, he did say employment issues are up to the superintendent.
“I will leave it up to him to make any comments about his employees and any actions he wants to take,” Evans said.
The president of the teachers union said the inaccuracies made teachers look greedy. He said Dobbs stopped by his office Monday to apologize for his comments.
As to what Dobbs has to say for himself, NBC 7 San Diego was told by the district he was not available for comment.