It only took us six months to find out what the last Superintendent was paid in 2016. It’s a shocker!

January 9, 2018 It only took us six months but we finally found out what the last Superintendent was actually paid in 2016. It’s a shocker!

In 2015, The San Diego Union Tribune commented  on Dr. Justin Cunningham’s Superintendent’s salary, benefits and pension ($191,000 for overseeing a small school district) in an article entitled “Some superintendent salaries rising to the extreme.” Here’s the snippet from the article:

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 12.07.49 PM.png

Superintendent Justin Cunningham signed a 3 year contract in 2015 for approximately $170k plus benefits. In 2016, the Board approved raises for staff, increasing the Superintendent’s base pay to $178k. However TransparentCalifornia reveals Superintendent Cunningham’s salaries and benefits were a shocking $281k in 2016, more than the Governor of California!

It took six months and dozens of emails to BUSD to finally see the correct figures for 2016 being posted to TransparentCalifornia. Cunningham retired in 2017, saying he had a bad knee. His pension will be based on this very high salary.  The Village News has reported Cunningham’s taxpayer-funded pension will be 80 to 85% of his salary. This is interesting since County employees only receive 40.5% of their salaries.

How did this happen? That’s a good question.

Fallbrook Village Rotary learns about battle in Gird Valley

JULY 3, 2018  Fallbrook Village Rotary learns about battle in Gird Valley

The Village News published a slightly edited version of a report on a speech given by Teresa Platt of at the June 5 meeting of the Fallbrook Village Rotary. You can read the full report on the speech here.

Platt shared the history Gird Valley’s fight against large scale development, sprawl. She shared details on the failed 116-acre golf course located in the heart of Gird Valley, now being converted into Monserate Winery and vineyard and to be preserved from development via the use of conservation easements. Platt reported on how Bonsall, Fallbrook and other North County residents fought and won against five ballot measures to fund building a huge high school in Gird Valley which runs just 4 miles from Live Oak Park south to the 76.

The Village News article included details on the long-standing relationship between Lilac Hills Ranch interests and Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD), including financial support of its unification and its 2016 failed $58M bond measure, Attempt #5 to build a high school in Gird Valley. Completely out of sync with North County residents, in 2015 and 2016, BUSD’s Superintendent was actively lobbying the Board of Supervisors to approve Lilac Hills Ranch and talking about redrawing district boundaries to better serve sprawl development.

BUSD has announced it will place a $38M bond proposal on the ballot this fall to pay for one-third of a 1,500-student high school. This will be Attempt #6 to fund building a high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley, which is located at the northernmost edge of the school district, inconvenient for most district residents but convenient for sprawl developments proposed for east of I-15. Such developments are not in compliance with the County’s General Plan which attempts to save rural areas by keeping development in San Diego County area where infrastructure already exists.

Platt asked, “…will district residents vote this November to tax themselves for 30 years to pay $38 million (plus interest) for building phase one of three, to build one-third of a high school most of their children will never use?”

Beyond the upcoming bond issue, Platt noted that development should comply with the County General Plan, that Mello-Roos fees should be used for new developments requiring large investments in infrastructure and that new leadership is needed on the BUSD Board. Four out of the five Board seats are up for election this fall and district residents who care about education, fiscal responsibility and protecting North County from sprawl should consider running.