nbc 7 investigates

Spending Controversy: Top Paid East County Superintendent Gets A Raise

Cajon Valley trustees approve a 13% pay hike; Superintendent also pockets $76K for unused vacation days

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San Diego County’s highest-paid school superintendent now makes more than $425,000 in salary, benefits and other compensation.

The Cajon Valley Union school board Tuesday night approved a 13% pay raise over two years for Superintendent David Miyashiro. 

The district covers central El Cajon and has just under 16,000 students.

Miyashiro will also take home more than $76,000 by cashing out his unused vacation pay accrued since 2017. District executives have not responded to requests by NBC 7 Investigates for documentation of the school board’s approval of those individual vacation pay-outs.

According to data from the California Department of Education, Miyashiro is the highest-paid superintendent in San Diego County when factoring in base salary, benefits, and other pay. In addition to his salary and vacation payouts, the superintendent receives a $300 monthly expense account and an $800 monthly car allowance, according to his contract.

Miyashiro had agreed to speak with NBC 7 Investigates Wednesday afternoon, but instead sent an email expressing his displeasure with NBC 7’s previous reporting on district finances.

To read our previous reporting, click here or watch below.

NBC 7 Investigates reporter Mari Payton breaks down the fund misuse and retaliation allegations facing the superintendent.

On Wednesday, Governing Board President Tamara Otero defended the Superintendent’s performance and pay raise.

“If you really want to compare his salary to others then you have to consider his body of work to that of others," Otero said. "For the record, we aren’t cutting this year, or experiencing layoffs like that of other districts in San Diego County.”

Cajon Valley Unified does not rank among the county’s largest districts, but employment law expert Dan Eaton said the district’s size is just one factor in determining its superintendent’s salary. 

“There very well may be other issues that warrant more pay for superintendents in [smaller districts],” Eaton told NBC 7 Investigates. “There can be any number of challenges facing a district, whether economic, demographic or whatever.”

The elected school board members set Miyashiro’s pay, but attorney Eaton said taxpayers have the final word on the board’s decision-making.

“If this is something that concerns the people in the district, they ought to speak up,” Eaton said. “And if they are not satisfied with what they are getting from the school board, they ought to take action at the ballot box.”

Daniel Shinoff, an attorney representing the Cajon Valley Unified School District, pushed back against NBC 7’s reporting in November 2019 by sending the station a Cease and Desist letter on January 20, 2020.

To read the letter, click here.

The letter accused NBC 7 of “slander and libel” in our previous reporting about a lawsuit filed against the district by one of its own board members.

The letter failed to identify any inaccuracies or defamatory information. NBC 7 Investigates stands by its reporting.

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