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Calif. School Boards head under fire for pay

July 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The executive director of the California School Boards Association has found himself embroiled in controversy. Scott Plotkin is facing questions about his salary and his alleged use of a company credit card."I am Scott Plotkin, the executive director of the California School Boards Association," said Plotkin.

Plotkin told Eyewitness News by phone Friday he thought this is would be the end of his career. His compensation and company credit card use recently became public, forcing California School Boards Association (CSBA) officials to meet behind closed doors literally all day 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 didn't push for the raises.

"The board wanted to make it worth my while to stay," said Plotkin. "And so they decided to recognize me with some one-time performance bonuses. They made a substantial increase in my salary."

KCRA 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," said Plotkin.

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 per year in dues to CSBA to represent their interests in Sacramento, money that isn't going to cash-starved classrooms.

"When you hear that, you're very upset. That's the first thing," said parent Berry Accius. "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 (D-Los Angeles) office is calling for an investigation.

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

CSBA's former accounting firm questioned the practice of allowing employees to use company credit cards for personal use, and recommended changing it.


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