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School board approves 14% pay raise for superintendent

Original post made on Jun 20, 2019

Mountain View Whisman school board members voted unanimously last week to give Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph a 14% raise.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 20, 2019, 10:19 AM

Comments (32)

Posted by Common sense
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2019 at 11:31 am

You have got to be kidding me. "Remarkable achievements" and "outstanding leadership"??? Is the MVWSD board really talking about the same Rudolph who staffed the office with his cronies, destroys morale at the school level, and fills open position with unqualified staff and pays through the nose for "coaching" while at the same time crying about an impending budget crisis to justifying laying off student-facing staff? This is disgusting.

Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 20, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

The board forgets that pay in the education world is based on experience and nearby superintendents are paid more for their experience. Many budget related news stories worth following. This will certainly be a factor in next year's teacher contract negotiations as it should since schools should always be about fairness (like supt full family health coverage exceeds what district educators are offered). Also in the news, MVWSD spends $95k for coaching new budget officer: Web Link What they aren't seeing is that many other districts are preparing for the end of the longest economic expansion on record: Web Link

I would love for teachers to get paid more and to get fully paid for health coverage for their families, even more, I would love for all district educators to get the same deal admistrators get, and also, I would love to ensure we don't have to lay off educators that work directly with students when budgets come short.

Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 20, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Damn it feels good, to be a superintendent.

Posted by Shameful
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 20, 2019 at 1:19 pm

They have to pay him more or he might quit. Wouldn't that be a shame?

Posted by resident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 20, 2019 at 1:23 pm

so do I understand correctly that in 4 years with the district the pay has increased from 200,000 to 281,000? An 81,000 increase over 4 years....I can only hope that the teachers are also in line for a double digit salary increase since they are the ones working directly with the students.

Posted by Ski6
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Ski6 is a registered user.

Uhhh...are we trying to retain him? The board is so hoodwinked by him because he is a good communicator and meets with them often; always spinning things to his advantage. He knows where his bread is buttered. He makes me ill he is so disingeneous and political. He wouldnt last 6 months at a corporation, but in education admin, i guess this is what success looks like.

Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 20, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Bruce Karney is a registered user.

Here's what I would expect a school superintendent's pay increase to be based on:
50% improved academic performance of children
25% successful retention of high-performing teachers and administrators
10% approval rating from parents
10% managing expenses to budget
5% everything else

I wonder what exactly the MVWSD's Board was looking at.

Posted by Somewhere I read
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 20, 2019 at 4:29 pm

Somewhere I read is a registered user.

@Bruce Karney

Somewhere I read:

"Shortly before the vote, board president Tamara Wilson said the raise acknowledges Rudolph's good performance while also recognizing that his salary hasn't kept pace with what other districts are offering. The board's goal was to bring Rudolph's salary up to the top quartile of superintendent salaries in the area, and that the 14% raise barely puts him into that range.

"It's part of our strategic plan, and part of that was to identify what that target value was for superintendents," she said. "We did a regional analysis, up to date for this current school year, in addition to previous ones that have been published and presented to the public."

Wilson pointed to two studies previously commissioned by the district that concluded Mountain View Whisman's superintendent salary falls below the average compensation of similar districts in the area. She also suggested that Rudolph had accepted the position for less than what was advertised during the superintendent search in 2015, and that the district has been slow in past years to bring his salary up to a competitive level. Documents from the search firm at the time, Proact, described the job's expectations, and listed compensation as a range between $200,000 and $220,000. Rudolph's initial salary with the district in 2015 was $200,000, within the range advertised. The district also spent $87,000 on executive coaching services for Rudolph during his first two years working in the district.

Superintendent salaries in Santa Clara County are a mixed bag. On the lower end is the neighboring Los Altos School District, where Superintendent Jeff Baier's base salary is $255,749. Paul Johnson, recently hired as the superintendent of Los Gatos Union Elementary, received $278,000 this year, while Superintendent Benjamin Picard of the Sunnyvale School District is paid $342,383."

Posted by reader
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 20, 2019 at 4:38 pm

@Common Sense, you took the words right out of my mouth. You have got to be kidding me.

Well, as the Board continues to prove, "it's all about the kids!"

I don't know, there must be something in the water or the air at the district office. Many highly intelligent, otherwise rational, critical thinking people have served on school board, and they all just seem to fall under this magic spell of the superintendent du jour, who says "jump!" and they reply "how high?" We elected the current board with hopes that the nonsense would end, and instead we see them blindly following Ayinde's bogus, unscientific "school climate surveys" and hiring his friends from NC and firing some of the very best principals this district has ever had.

You have got to be kidding me.

I would think this kind of mis-management and misuse of money would really undermine the foundation's fundraising efforts. Help fund music, art, etc so the district can throw more money (everyone's tax dollars) at an incompetent smooth talking neophyte.

Posted by It must be great
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2019 at 7:50 pm

Working for the Government, thanks to the unions, they live like royalty while us tech workers struggle with just 80k/yr.

There should be only one superintendent for the whole bay area.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2019 at 9:20 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

President Wilson, unlike Christopher Chang and myself, did not participate in his initial-hiring contract details. I'm so glad that The Voice reporter corrected her mistake 'for the record'. Rudolph was hired within the range that we advertised. He had no years of experience as the CAO, head, or Superintendent of a school district.

No experience = lowest on the salary range - unlike Board President Wilson's understanding, is a quite reasonable salary offer. Especially since it did include 'professional coaching' of a mentor-of-Rudolph's choosing.

How to justify 14%? Wilson's-logic makes no sense to me. A Step Increase (years in service like teachers salary table) and a COLA inflation increase. That is the Base, if average work. There was no great work by the Superintendent. The Genius of that new teacher housing, was the City Development Director! (who is now working on non-profit housing in the private sector). Would the 'victory celebrants' at Cooper Park on June 2 have given Rudolph's big raise a thumbs up? (I don't know)

Close the Academic Achievement Gap? (isn't it still one of the 20 worst in the country? White-Hispanic). Oh well, Huff, Stevenson and many Bubb White & Asian parents are just fine with the continuing status quo.

Start reducing deficit spending? - three years out - still projected to be spending >$2M over Revenue. (I.e. Not fixed)

District Office build - now spent way over the contingency! Not Good.

Math - if the Board's goal is to get Rudolph to a median or average salary - why is the "top quartile" where they are putting him? [LASD Superintendent lives in an home that is a family inheritance, hence his property taxes are based on 1982 + 2% per year allowed increase. He is an outlier on 'needed cash compensation'.]

SN is a retired MVWSD Board Member (like C. Chiang)
We helped negotiate, in Closed Session with a full Board, Rudolph's original employment contract.

Posted by Ski6
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2019 at 9:25 pm

Ski6 is a registered user.

You said "I would think this kind of mis-management and misuse of money would really undermine the foundation's fundraising efforts. Help fund music, art, etc so the district can throw more money (everyone's tax dollars) at an incompetent smooth talking neophyte."

Right, I forgot to mention he meets with the MVEF board often and regularly, always with soothing talking points and contrived, limited opportunities to ask critical questions. If you are publicly critical of him, and ask for a meeting, he cancels or reschedules. Then the board shuns you because you asked a critical question of the Great Dr Rudolph. Like I said, he knows where his bread is buttered. I wish he would go back to NC, which we all know is probably where he is plotting to land for his next job anyway.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2019 at 9:30 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

I'd give Rudolph credit "this round" of not hiring from outside California, and MAINLY hiring by promoting from within. On This Point I think (and hope) he is recovering from his bout of HIRE MY CAROLINA FRIENDS.

I hope the Board has not been 'entirely asleep' about the doubts this type of 'hire my buds' action can make within the wider community of Mountain View. The dictionary name, appropriately for this practice in it's extreme, is cronyism.

Posted by reader
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 21, 2019 at 2:32 pm

@ It must be great

This has nothing to do with unions.

Superintendents are hired by the school board of trustees. The board negotiates the Superintendent's contract and pay.

Certificated (classroom teachers) and classified (everyone else - custodians, library aides, office people, etc) personnel have separate contracts with the district.

There are dozens of school districts in this area (K-8, 9-12, K-12). Even if it would be more efficient financially, it is very rare for districts to merge. Mountain View and Whisman were two separate districts that merged when the Navy left Moffett and lots of kids moved away.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 21, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@reader. You many not know, as Christopher Chiang and I have kept track of, that several of the local districts have a sort of "lazy approach" to the Superintendent / Administrators pay raise algorithm. Boards tend to do 'everybody gets The Same %'. This can be probamatic to the long term fiscal health of a district (Reserves specifically) if not kept in check (by the Board - which is responsible for setting Public Policy of a district.). The final Votes - and the responsibility, are in the hands of a majority of the Board. [this does not have to be unanimous]

Palo Alto USD Board at least 'talks' about this problem (although they do not seem to usually do anything different according to the Palo Alto Weekly - sister publication of The Voice).

Posted by Omg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2019 at 7:18 am

Is the board this clueless? Are they not listening to the community? They are snowed by him. He is hurting our schools and our sense of community. He is destroying Mistral one move at a time. With his principal hire, with his inflammatory comments that are harming the community, with his unilateral move to 50-50. Not to mention many other problems with the district at large. And they give him a raise?!

Posted by Concerned citizen
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 22, 2019 at 9:45 am

Apparently the district must be out of budget crisis. Did Bullis withdrawal make this raise possible? I have no problem with 14% as long as the teachers and classifieds get the same as they start contract negotiations in the coming months. If not, we must all band together and show our support at board meetings. Many of us in the community care about the schools, but we may need to take action to prove it.

Posted by Birds of a Feather
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 22, 2019 at 10:54 am

The process they've put in place translates that all raises must go step-in-step with raises in surrounding districts. The only problem is that surrounding districts are grossly outperforming Mountain View schools so we are paying for an inferior product. I wanted to give Rudolph the benefit of the doubt when he first came on but he so seriously compromised himself by brining over his crony consultants and friends from North Carolina. It's just hard to understand such blatant underhandedness. His smooth talking just comes across as insincere. His understanding of the community and efforts at communication are just plain bad.

Rudolph probably threatened to leave without a raise which would have put the board in a bad light. They have all martyred themselves behind the guy and just wouldn't be able to handle him leaving and exposing all the damage he has caused to date. The district hasn't been able to keep a superintendent more than 5 years for the last 20 years since merging. All along Ellen Wheeler has been sitting there presiding over flat results or worse. Toxic leadership has permeated the organization since Ghysels the First moved in. And now we have Ghysels the Second in the number two position. Attempting to build a strong organization foundation on such compromised ethical ground is really a pointless enterprise. Sorry folks, but it will probably take another 20 years to turn the district around, but it won't start until there is a thorough house cleaning of the school board and district office. Until then it will just be more of the same.

Posted by Ski6
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 22, 2019 at 4:38 pm

If we could persuade Wheeler to leave, that would make my day. She is totally incompetent. It’s so obvious when you meet with her, hear her speak at board meetings, or show up at school events. Who votes for her? No one who has actually seen her in action.she must have name recognition. She should step down. It is wrong that she continues to run for school board. Clearly all about her ego. And thank you Voice for endorsing her. What was that about

Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 22, 2019 at 9:27 pm


Hey, Ski6, I assume you ran for Board last year?
Decisions are made by those who show up, did you?

"If we could persuade Wheeler to leave, that would make my day."

Didn't anyone learn from the whole Steve Nelson thing?
NOBODY is going to "convince" anyone in political office to leave (even when there is a seriously valid reason to do so).

If you don't like Wheeler, I suggest you engage and get to know her (or any other politician) and learn how to have an honest discussion about the issues.

If you don't like Board policies and decisions, then sit down, write up your best concise arguments that will fit in a few minutes or better yet, in one minute, and then go to the Board meetings and make yourself and your issues known in the manner provided by the law.

"She is totally incompetent. It’s so obvious when you meet with her, hear her speak at board meetings, or show up at school events."

That would not be the first word I would use, but if you believe that, you should be able to write up a long clear article for the MV-Voice and get it published as a "Guest Opinion" piece. Just don't end up sounding worse than your opinion of Wheeler.

"Who votes for her?"

That's the wrong question, the right questions is who would vote for YOU?
The better question is why so few people bother to run for the School Board Trustee positions?

If you have not put yourself on the ballot, or even seriously considered it, as I have, then you really have to look in the mirror to find fault.
Wheeler is re-elected because so few people actually step up for the job.

I would remind you that Wheeler is the only long-time Board member and the other positions have mostly been one or two term. One long-serving Trustee does not make a majority vote.

"It is wrong that she continues to run for school board."

NO, it's wrong to sit in the cheap seats and complain about those who made the team and actually played the game.

"Clearly all about her ego."

You just partially defined virtually every politician in the world and most company executives to boot. There are some other attributes common to all politicians, but no need to list them here.

"And thank you Voice for endorsing her. What was that about"

Let me put it this way, until the PERFECT person steps up to run for office, you'll get someone who does step up.

The decisions are always made by the people who show up!
If you don't like it, then SHOW UP YOURSELF!

Posted by An Interested Observer
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2019 at 10:51 pm

An Interested Observer is a registered user.

Dear ST Parent - thank you for taking the time to write such a cogent reply to Ski6. As you say, if you don't like something, don't just complain about it.. do something about it. BTW, Ellen Wheeler came in second in her reelection bid so, obviously, many people in the community support her.

Posted by Birds of a Feather
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 23, 2019 at 7:50 am

@ST Parent

Many of us just do not have the time to run for board. We are barely scraping by and at the same time we have been burned by the school administration's and board's actions. We should be able to expect that long term board members know when to step down and give some one else a try. And don't worry some one will step up, and one person does make a difference on a board be it a new person or one who's been there forever.

And yes we've been to plenty of board meetings and met with administrators only to listen to a laundry list of excuses. We've donated money. We've volunteered our time at school events, many of which you will never see a board member or administrator even show up. Regardless, our efforts and work produce no results. At Mistral they have systematically begun to dismantle the program. They got rid of our former principal who was 100% dedicated to the children and their leaning and replaced her with a district office and board henchman, or woman as is the case. I suspect the same will now happen with the new PACT principal.

When they fired half the principals last year we rallied at the board meetings and were met with board silence. We were never consulted on the massive upheaval those decisions caused us. Nor did we have any say regarding the TTO math program which was a complete disaster.

Perhaps you should flip your argument around. Some board members just like the power, influence and perceived prestige that goes with the position. Some are even there to make sure their children are put first. And some are there to help there friends or advocate for a special group of parents or a neighborhood or a program like PACT. Some use it as a stepping stone to something else. So please let's not be naive and say it's all about selfless service. Terms limits is what we need. Two terms and they're out.

Posted by Insult to Teachers
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 25, 2019 at 9:57 am

Not only is the salary (exceeding $280K) excessive, the additional benefits are just a slap in the face of teachers who are paid much less and are not provided with these benefits "at District expense:
Web Link

* Health, Vision and Dental Insurance. District shall pay the premiums for Superintendent’s health, vision and dental insurance coverage (full family coverage).

* Life Insurance. District shall provide Superintendent, at District's expense, with a fully paid term life insurance policy in the face amount of $500,000 with the beneficiary or beneficiaries for such policy to be selected by Superintendent.

Posted by JW
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 26, 2019 at 9:06 am

@birds of a feather

Nailed it. We try SO hard. Nothing back. Then people start to give up. It’s a bad cycle.

Posted by Gemello Parent
a resident of Gemello
on Jun 26, 2019 at 1:58 pm

I’m also a Mistral parent, and I LOVE the changes. The new principal is getting things whipped into shape. Student safety is much improved, and the new math curriculum is much more rigorous. In my opinion, she deals with parents in a very forthright and honest manner. She is also very organized, which I very much appreciate. I’m too busy for last minute changes, which used to be the norm at Mistral. We shall see how the new switch h to 50:50 Spanish:English instruction will go, but something had to be done to try to address the huge achievement gap within the ESL community in our school. The previous model was not fair to those students, who had major struggles after the transition to middle school.

Posted by Birds of a Feather
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2019 at 2:27 pm

@Gemello Parent

Sorry, our experience is that the Mistral principal grossly lacks the experience and professional knowledge to do much beyond organizing the lunch line. Chaos in last minute communication abounds. Her knowledge of Spanish is elementary. This was a pure cronyism hire from North Carolina. Teachers and parents are leaving in droves. The 50/50 model will do nothing to raise the achievement gap or make things fair as you say. It will just water down both English and Spanish curriculum to a mediocre level Parents of struggling students need to step up and get involved with their children's education and get of the we-are-the-victims bandwagon.

Posted by Math Lesson for Wilson
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 29, 2019 at 5:49 pm

From the article:
"Shortly before the vote, board president Tamara Wilson said the raise acknowledges Rudolph's good performance while also recognizing that his salary hasn't kept pace with what other districts are offering. The board's goal was to bring Rudolph's salary up to the top quartile of superintendent salaries in the area..."

To keep pace with other districts one would only need to bring his salary up to the mean (or median) offered by other districts. Bringing him up to the top quartile only starts a salary race with other districts. The only winners of such races are the Superintendents!

And "Rudolph's good performance"? Not what I've seen! He really has this board wrapped around his finger.

Posted by Eluzabeth
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2019 at 7:57 pm

WOW! I guess the teachers should be getting a MINIMAL 10% raise!!! If not, the district should expect a backlash, and possible strike, and parents should get right behind them! Unbelievable! Very disappointing, MVWSD District Office leadership is weak, and inexperienced, and is shows painfully in their cronyism and decision making process. Gosh, what a surprise that there is low teacher retention, and poor climate. Respectfully, an MVWSD educator.

Posted by just the MATH
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 4, 2019 at 9:09 am

@Math Lesson for Wilson (and the whole Board). The COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for the local Bay Area for the last year was in the low 3% range. The years-of-service adjustment (column) in the MVWSD credentialed teachers salary schedule - for a 4th year teacher, with a PhD was also in the low 3% range. Apply both to the Superintendent's last year salary, (be sure to COLA the column adjustment) AND

- you get about a mid 7% year-to-year increase for someone, who did a reasonably average professional job.

President Wilson, you do not get 14% + extra Benefits (fully paid for family health insurance/no employee contribution). That is why the community is 'wondering'. The Superintendent got a low raise one year - for HIS MAJOR GOOF in the Teach To Math process. HIS BAD, so he put himself into the behind-expected-salary-increase schedule. That is also simple for us, the community, to understand.

Posted by ski6
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 16, 2019 at 9:33 am

ski6 is a registered user.

@ST parent

I DO step up. I have met with these leaders individually. I am a key volunteer, leader, and donor. How do you think i have formed the opinions i have formed?

When i speak up with my name attached, doors to leaders in the district shut. Probably yours included. Im not the only one treated this way.

Dont shoot the messenger.

Posted by Unhappy parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 5, 2019 at 3:28 pm

I wonder how the Board (and especially Board President Wilson) feel about Rudolph's management of school construction now!

"Wilson praised Rudolph's performance at the meeting, calling his management of school construction and his partnership with the city of Mountain View to build teacher housing remarkable achievements."

Posted by Standing Ovation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2019 at 3:53 pm

@Unhappy parent.

Agreed. Raises all around while the real damage done starts to emerge. Time to recall the Board.

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