San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Accused of Taking Illegal Pay

The California Taxpayers Action Network has filed a lawsuit against San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Randy Ward, alleging he illegally paid himself as much as $100,000 and violated state conflict-of-interest laws.

Thursday’s lawsuit takes issue with the so-called “me-too” raises that Ward began receiving in 2013. These allowed him to receive a pay boost whenever teachers did, resulting in a raise of 5.1 percent, or $14,535, in 2014. While the practice is not illegal on its face, it could be considered self-dealing since Ward negotiates with teachers unions and helps determine the raises teachers will receive.

In addition, the watchdog group is faulting Ward for retroactively authorizing a 3.8 percent raise two years after it was initially offered, resulting in a windfall of up to $31,400. The County Office of Education’s chief financial officer, Lora Duzyk, is also named in the suit.

Ward has served as the chief executive of San Diego County’s Office of Education since 2006 and is among the highest paid public school employees in the state. A recent raise of 4 percent has brought his base salary up to a whopping $331,736.

Read more about the lawsuit here.