School association under fire for exec pay scandal

July 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The embattled executive director of the California School Boards Association is out. His resignation follows an all-day emergency meeting to deal with the controversy over his huge salary and the questionable use of a company credit card.

Here's the issue -- with spending on teachers and schools being slashed across the state, how can the executive director of the organization justify a pay package of nearly $600,000?

Scott Plotkin told ABC7 earlier by phone he thought this is would be the end of his career. His compensation and company credit card use recently became public, forcing the California School Boards Association officials to meet behind closed doors all day Friday at their West Sacramento headquarters.

According to tax filings, Plotkin made $290,000 back in the 2005 school year. The next year, he earned $353,000. Then CSBA gave him a $175,000 bonus in 2008, bringing his total compensation to more than $540,000 that year.

Plotkin told Sacramento television station KCRA this week he did not push for the raises.

"The Board wanted to make it worth my while to stay. So, they decided to recognize me with one-time performance bonuses and a substantial increase in salary," he said.

The station is also reporting that he can use the company card for personal use, if he paid it back.

Records show Plotkin withdrew more than $11,000 cash from area casinos in 2008.

"The board is aware of that, I'm not sure what to tell you," Plotkin said.

Critics say the raises, bonuses and cash advances are inappropriate at a time when schools are hurting. School districts across California pay more than $5 million a year in dues to CBSA to represent their interests in Sacramento, money that isn't going to cash-starved classrooms.

"When you hear that, you're very upset," parent Berry Accius said. "That's the first thing, like, 'Wow, so we're getting all our schools shut down, but you guys are still being able to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous?'"

Earlier this year, CSBA filed a lawsuit against the state because of the way it funds public schools.

State Senator Gloria Romero's office is calling for an investigation.

"It's very ironic; CSBA launched a lawsuit against the state of CA for inadequately funding schools, yet they continue to suck dues from school districts like it's Kool-Aid, that's just atrocious," Romero's spokesperson Teala Schaff said.


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