Transparent California Claims to See Through Anaheim School District's High Teacher Salaries

Despite its teachers earning more on average than their colleagues at every California school district but one, Anaheim Union High School District falls short on student performance, according to new data released by a Tustin-based think tank.


Transparent California, which is a project of the California Policy Center and the Nevada Policy Research Institute, found that Anaheim Union's average teacher compensation is $115,437 while its Academic Performance Index score is 777. The API, which relies on 2013 data because it's the most recent available, ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000, with 800 being the targeted goal for all schools.

When it comes to 10 of the largest school districts surveyed in California the greater LA area, Anaheim Union has the highest total employee cost per student ($7,963), the study found. Of 75 of the largest school districts surveyed statewide, Anaheim Union was fourth in highest total employee cost per student, according to Robert Fellner, the California Policy Center's director of Transparency Research.

Officials with the Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association did not get back to the Weekly with a response on these numbers from the conservative think tank.

Other Orange County school districts in the top 10 for employee cost per student in greater LA include No. 3 Garden Grove Unified ($7,423), No. 5 Santa Ana Unified ($7,120) and No. 10 Capistrano Unified ($5,944). The average teacher compensation in those districts is $110,737, $106,774 and $103,538 respectively.

The average of the top 10 greater LA districts together is $102,615, with the employee cost per student averaging out to $6,990.

“The lack of meaningful correlation between average teacher compensation and school performance, as measured by the districts' 2013 API score, is stunning,” said Mark Bucher, president of the California Policy Center. “It does show, however, that simply increasing funding is not an effective way to improve performance.”

For more about the data:

Bucher was the volunteer coordinator for the defeated Yes on Proposition 174 campaign that sought bring school vouchers to California's education system. The Biola University grad went on to found the Education Alliance, which supports school board candidates who oppose state and federal curriculum guidelines and the establishment of health clinics or condom distribution in schools, and who support a back-to-basics education, emphasis on American values over multiculturalism and evolution and creationism taught side by side. The Education Alliance started with seed money supplied by Orange County savings-and-loan scion Howard F. Ahmanson and late Santa Ana Heights multimillionaires John and Donna Crean.

Heading up education side of the California Policy Center is Gloria Romero, a former California state senator and the Democratic majority leader of the California State Senate from 2001-08. She also campaigned for Prop. 32, which would have barred unions from withholding money from worker paychecks to finance political activities had California voters not defeated in 2012. Romero also leads the California chapter of Democrats for Education Reform, an interest group funded by Wall Street hedge fund managers who support charter schools.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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