Last Sunday, OC Register “Watchdog” columnist Teri Sforza revealed that two of the highest paid education executives in the state are working in the N-MUSD. And the lower paid of the two is the boss.

According to Sforza, N-MUSD Grand Poobah Fred Navarro’s compensation package is $341,728 and he comes in at no. 12 in the entire state. His subordinate, Deputy Whatever Paul Reed makes considerably more. Reed makes $372,998 and is no. 7 in California. I guess they’re giving credence to the “Golden State” nickname.

So, let’s see… eight plus eight, carry the one… Sorry – I’m not using that goofy Common Core math method – and we have $741,726 in annual compensation for two guys who just doubled school bus fares after running millions of dollars in the red for years, who are just coming off a fiscal year in the red, and who cannot or will not apply proven turnaround principles to any of Costa Mesa’s failing schools.

Over the next three years – the life of Navarro’s contract – they will be paid $2,225,178 and that does not include the fat pensions they’ll receive when they finally get out of the way via retirement and let someone else try to fix Costa Mesa’s schools.

These salaries are only the start of the list of the district’s highly paid executives who are too scared to tell the boss how fix Costa Mesa’s schools, or don’t know themselves what to do so they hide behind their desks each day, afraid to stick out their necks lest they become another John Caldecott.

In the end, it’s not only taxpayers who suffer from this insufferable bureaucracy, it’s also the Costa Mesa students who get promoted before they can read or do math at grade level. These kids get shoved through the pipeline annually while the district crows about getting students ready for the “21st ‘C’entury economy,” whatever that is. Truth is, I don’t think they know what it is, it’s just some buzzword they picked up at one of the meaningless taxpayer-paid conferences they attend annually, or perhaps they saw some other district using the term and it sounded official-like so they adopted it.

Millions in compensation spent annually for a group of people who do what, exactly? I know what they DON’T do and that’s work to fix Costa Mesa’s schools. Those are the schools that the Super just said he’ll “squeeze in” with visits “if things work out.”

So how did it get this way? It’s our fault, really. We kept electing lightweight, rubber-stamping trustees who rarely question anything and who also don’t have a clue as to how to improve academic performance in Costa Mesa’s schools and don’t really care to hold anyone accountable. It’s a lot more fun just going to meetings where everyone gets along, and approving everything that is presented to you so you can be liked.

It’s terrible, really. The only fun part is thinking about how Superintendent Fred Navarro feels each day when he has to work with a subordinate who’s making about $30K more than he is.


Steve Smith