Apr. 03, 2010
Modesto's educators compensated well versus rest of state
By J.N. Sbranti
Teachers have a reputation for being underpaid, but that certainly isn't the case in Modesto City Schools. Its teachers have some of the top salaries in all of California.
Last year, 98 of the district's 1,600 teachers and counselors earned more than $100,000, including 25 who earned more than $110,000. (See our database of who makes $100k at bottom of the story).
On average during the 2008-09 school year, teachers earned $80,686 in base pay for working 185 days.
* Stanislaus Districts seeking to reduce payroll, leave wages alone
* How Teacher Pay Stacks Up
* Top 25 Teacher Salaries (2008-09)
* 2009 Modesto City Schools 100K employees
Many of the district's educators were paid extra for things such as teaching additional classes, coaching sports and academic teams, and overseeing independent study students.
About two dozen teachers boosted their earnings by $20,000 or more last year by taking on such added duties.
Even without those stipends, Modesto City Schools' educators on average earned nearly $14,000 per year more than teachers elsewhere in California. Their base pay was more than double the median salary for full-time Modesto workers in the private sector, most of whom worked 240 days or more.
"We're well-paid, but I do not believe we're overpaid," said Barney Hale, longtime leader of the Modesto Teachers Association.
Teacher salaries and potential pay cuts for all employees, including administrators, have become an issue this spring as Modesto City Schools struggles to slash $25 million — about 10 percent — from next year's budget.
Twenty-two of the 25 highest-paid district employees are administrators, led by Superintendent Arturo Flores at $228,166.25. In all, 79 administrators make more than $100,000.
The highest-paid teacher is Downey High School's Frank Bispo, who made $129,885 in 2008-09. Included in his 2008-09 compensation was $42,750.86 in stipends.
Hale said Modesto City Schools' educators earn more primarily because they have been teaching for more years than those elsewhere in the state and because their district contributes less toward their health and welfare benefits.
Hale said it's not fair to compare their salaries with what Modesto's privately employed workers earn because teachers are more educated.
But even when the value of benefits are added in, Modesto's teachers are significantly better compensated than their California counterparts. The average total compensation including benefits during the 2008-09 school year was $82,484 for Modesto educators, compared to the $76,212 statewide teacher average.
It is uncommon for Modesto workers to earn more than those doing similar work elsewhere in California.
The U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey, for example, calculated that Modesto residents with postgraduate or professional degrees earned a median $62,003, while the California median for such highly educated residents was $74,664.
In its initial contract offer for the 2010-11 school year, Modesto's school board proposed teachers take a 12.5 percent pay cut and reduce their work year by seven days, which would shrink salaries an additional 3.5 percent.
Hale noted that teachers took a 1 percent pay cut and eliminated three workdays this year, which resulted in salaries shrinking 2.6 percent.
But in reality, many teachers in the district actually got raises — or made about the same this year as last — because of how the pay scale is structured.
Teacher/sports enthusiast Frank Bispo
A special day for talented Bispo clan
Oct 21, 2008 ... Packed schedules are business as usual for the clan of Frank and Deanna Bispo and their five children, but this Saturday sparkled more than most...
Twenty-six years ago, Frank Bispo -- Brad's father -- started at fullback for the Aggies and caught a 92-yard touchdown pass from Chris ...
The Modesto Bee
...Frank Bispo was head football coach at Downey for 10 years...
Mr. Bispo throws considerable support to accused child molester:
Sep. 17, 2009
Coach pleads to sex charges
20 counts for King, who trained swimmers at SOS, Bay Area clubs
By Linda Goldston
SAN JOSE — The former head swim coach at Modesto's SOS Club and at numerous swim clubs in the Bay Area over the past 40 years has pleaded no contest to 20 felony child molestation charges that could keep him in prison for the rest of his life.
Andy King's plea Friday came as a surprise within the swim communities he served, including Stanislaus County. King was the SOS coach from 1998-2000 and was credited with increasing the team's membership fourfold during his stay.
King, 61, has been held in Santa Clara County Jail in lieu of $3 million bail since his arrest in April on charges he molested a 14-year-girl he coached at San Jose Aquatics. He was arraigned in July on additional charges that he sexually abused two East Bay women he coached in 1988 and 1989.
This year, investigations in San Jose and the East Bay turned up 12 people who said they were victims, including one from Modesto, but only three of them are included in the charges because of the statute of limitations.
The weekend before his arrest, King was coaching some of his athletes at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in College Station, Texas. One of those athletes, competing for the University of Texas, was Modesto's Karlee Bispo, whose father, Frank Bispo, was with King for much of that weekend.
"I found out about the charges the day after we left the NCAA meet," said Frank Bispo, a teacher and former athletic director at Downey High. "I visited him in jail about a month ago. I know he pled no contest, but I know for certain he never did anything improper with my girls, and I'm not aware of anything he ever did, except for what's mentioned in the charges.
"I'm not going to say anybody's not telling the truth, but he treated my girls well. He was a tough coach and winning was his profession and his life. I don't know the ghosts in his closet, but I trusted my kids with him."...
[Maura Larkins comment: Actually, people who behave inappropriately with children get a remarkable amount of support from schools and school personnel. See the Fred Kamper case.]