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'Make Schools Businesslike'

December 20, 1988

I would like to point out some areas in which Solmon and I agree and differ.

I fully agree that Supt. Britton's salary is justified. In fact, I believe he is underpaid. Anyone directly responsible for an organization of 57,000 employees deserves more money. There are executives at Disney and MCA who are paid millions, yet those companies have a quarter of the number of employees that LAUSD does.

Solmon states that a teacher with nine years experience and a master's degree is paid $41,024. That figure is actually based on 98-plus post-baccalaureate units or roughly the equivalent of three masters. In the private sector anyone with three masters is worth far more than $41,000, if you could find someone with those qualifications.

I agree with Solmon's assessment on the role of principals and on-site administrators. They are an integral part of the education process, whether they are hiring new teachers, meeting with parents or simply supervising football games.

One of the United Teachers of Los Angeles's arguments is that while the district complains of a shortage of funds to pay teachers, there are many regional and central office administrators who are paid an excess of $90,000. I don't see these people teaching bilingual classes for extra pay. I don't see these people teaching in a "hard to staff" school. I don't see these people coaching the school's Academic Decathlon team. I do see them sending an infinite number of memos dealing with the minutiae.

Solmon states, "A school district as large as Los Angeles requires some regionalization and duplication of responsibilities." It is that type of reasoning that permits government bureaucracies like the Defense Department to buy $600 toilet seats. The bureaucracy needs to be lessened and restructured. That would create less work, but encourage more teaching and that is what education is all about.

JOHN J. PLEVACK

Granada Hills

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