Perks pay off at Oakland public schools
OAKLAND — Perks given to East Bay public-school superintendents could bump their annual salaries by tens of thousands of dollars.
Many East Bay superintendents get car and housing allowances in addition to the $90,000 to $185,000 salary. The Berkeley Unified School District pays the interest on the superintendent’s home loan in addition to the $185,000 salary and Antioch’s superintendent takes home $8,100 a year to help pay for his Cadillac.
The high salaries and added perks have prompted angry reactions from teachers and unions stuck in bitter negotiations for higher wages.
But recruiters and education organizations say rising salaries and extra perks are unavoidable in an increasingly tight job market. In California, applications for superintendent jobs have dropped by about 60 percent in the past decade.
Bob Wells, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators, said the high-stakes accountability systems means superintendents take greater risks for a job that doesn’t pay as well as private-sector positions.
Those demands are even greater in urban school districts that pay higher salaries to attract applicants, he said. San Francisco’s superintendent makes $212,760, while Oakland pays $180,000 a year.
Ball Parks go vegan
OAKLAND — In addition to the traditional hot dogs and peanuts, ballpark food vendors are now stocking veggie dogs, boiled soybeans and other vegetarian fare.
The trend is so big that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently released a list of America’s top-10 vegetarian-friendly ballparks, ranking Oakland’s Network Associates Coliseum fourth.
“This is a trend you’re going to see increase,” said PETA spokesman Dan Shannon. “Not only is it common sense, it’s financial sense. These things sell.”
A’s fans buy about 80 to 100 veggie dogs and burgers each game, officials said. Salads and baked potatoes are also popular chow.
PacBell Ballpark missed the list, despite offering its own vegetarian menu that includes sushi rolls, garden burgers and boiled soybeans. Ballpark officials hope to add a veggie dog to the menu soon.
Dry rot blamed for three fatal accidents
SAN FRANCISCO — A series of wooden deck and rail collapses have claimed at least three lives and injured at least two dozen people since 1990.
City inspectors blame dry rot — a fungus that thrives in wet wood eventually making it brittle and weak — and say it plagues countless decks in San Francisco.
The city Department of Building Inspection is required to inspect the 22,000 apartment buildings in San Francisco, but say more than one-quarter of those buildings are overdue because the inspectors are so busy. City inspectors are not required to check one- and two-unit buildings.
Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, chairman of the board’s Transportation and Commerce Committee, said he plans to hold a hearing soon on the issue.