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Polifrone Highest Paid MVWSD Teacher in 2010

Original post made by MVWSD Watchdog, Old Mountain View, on May 11, 2011

According to the Public Employee Salaries Database 2010, the highest paid teacher in MVWSD in 2010 was the controversial Patricia Polifrone who was reported to have resigned from the district back in 2009 by Stephanie Totter, director of administrative services. However, Polifrone grossed $112,500 in 2010 suggesting that she was actually bought out by the school district. Web Link The amount far surpasses the salary of the highest paid teacher in the district who actually taught in 2010. The true cost of the buyout remains a mystery, but such is the price for poor personnel administration of teachers in the district and the even poorer practices of documenting parent complaints. The as-of-yet-undetermined total amount of money used to buy out Polifrone could have been put to good use in the classroom. Hopefully, the new superintendent takes effective steps to put an end to costly and poorly managed personnel policies and practices in the district in the future. This is what the Public Employee Salaries Database 2010 was designed to do; to reveal the waste taking place everyday in public organizations.

Comments (6)

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Posted by Huff Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm

This does not surprise me. The district office is loathe to handle any parent complaint. Their failure to document complaints has cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars. What's worse is that they made every effort to hide the truth from the community. Where did the money to pay her off come from any way?


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Posted by Elaine
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 12, 2011 at 2:01 am

This does not surprise me. Our favorite ex-super Ghysels was always carfeful of protecting his image and the perception that the district office staff was a crack team of professionals. It would appear that they lost control of adminisitiring this renegade teacher and settled for a pricey buy out. Anything to protect the Ghysel's regime I suppose.

What bothers me most is that it was all packaged up in a bunch of lies and spin by the board and aasistant supperintendent Totter whose favorite defense is that is was "a personnel matter". To a point, yes, but not when the district starts cutting checks with taxpayers' money.

Good job watchdog.


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Posted by localmom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Good job watchdog!! Now can you please verify if PP was actually "terminated" and her $100K plus salary will not continue indefinitely ?? Will this be a recurring expense? I think the district owes the tax payers an explanation.


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Posted by District Dad
a resident of Willowgate
on May 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Totter should be fired for lying to the public. The rest of the staff should be put through mandatory ethics training.


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Posted by Nick V
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on May 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Nick V is a registered user.

I am currently looking into this. The district cannot legally discuss personnel matters with the press. However, Superintendent Craig Goldman did confirm that the information found on MVWSD Watchdog's link to the Mercury News' database of public employees pay is accurate.

According to that database, Patricia Polifrone was paid $112,500 in 2010. Considering that Polifrone left the district at the end of the 2008-2009 school year, it is curious that she was paid all that money in 2010.

The database shows that the money paid to Polifrone was not a part of "base" pay. Rather, the money is "other" pay -- or "other cash payments including overtime."

Because Goldman cannot give me more information other than to confirm that Polifrone is no longer an employee of the district, and that the information on the Mercury's database is correct, I will have to look elsewhere to find out why she was paid that sum.

I would appreciate anyone with information that might shed some light on this matter to please contact me via email or phone:

nveronin@mv-voice.com
650-326-8210 (ask for Nick Veronin)

Thank you,
Nick Veronin
Reporter
Mountain View Voice


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Posted by District Dad
a resident of Willowgate
on May 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Typical shell game. This nonsense needs to stop. Where to begin. The taxpayers are now not entitled to know where money is spent and why, but there are plenty of reasons supplied when it's time to increase class sizes or ask for a parcel tax. How do we know that the last superintendent wasn't bought off as well? After all he had just signed a new contract. Perhaps therein lies a larger story, since the board and district office have now mastered lying to the public. Their deceptions are everywhere. Who wants to bet this is only part of the payout and there's plenty more coming. No one walks away from a job for that amount, particularly when they have job security. No one.

I believe there is a difference between a personnel matter versus a hiring or firing or buying someone out. The district can announce it has hired teachers by name, laid off or "pink-slipped" teachers, but not how many it has bought out? Alas the favorite fall-back, "it's a personnel matter" translated, "it's a lie, don't ask, you really don't want to know how we screwed up again". I would recommend doing more research as to whether this is indeed a personnel matter protected by law. The Los Angeles Times carries a story nearly everyday regarding public employees making off with truck loads of taxpayer money, and there are plenty of details and no secrets made about it. This type of incompetence and waste is crushing this state.

Alternatively, I suggest the following battery of questions be posed as follows to Mr. Goldman: "What is the amount in total of "other" payouts that the district paid and why?; There are hundreds of thousands of dollars listed as 'other' on the public salary database. How can the public be assured that all this money has actually been spent properly?; What are the control measures in place?; How many teachers were bought out in 2010?; How many superintendents?; From what fund did the $112,500 amount come from?; How many full-time equivalent teacher salaries did that amount take away from?; Are further 'other' amounts to the tune of $112,500 anticipated in the future?; who, if it were to occur, would make the decision to buy out a teacher?; Is there precedence in the district?; Would the board have to approve it? Does such a hypothetical buyout suggest a failure in personnel administration within the district?; What measures have been taken to prevent such hypothetical buyouts from occurring in the future?; What control measures are in place to prevent them?; Has remedial training been provided to the necessary staff? And so on, and so on, and so on. But good luck getting a straight answer. Apparently the public has no right to know anything. So much for transparency.


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