Lawyers, metal workers and police employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District were among groups of employees who earned more on average than a typical teacher last year, according to recently released payroll records.
While certificated educators earned the lion’s share of all payroll in 2014 at about $2.48 billion, more than $966 million went to classified employees — a group that includes window washers to high-level administrators.
Among the bigger and higher paid groups of employees was the district’s police force. In the second largest department of school police in the nation, its 250 rank-and-file officers earned on average $87,399 last year.
An additional 26 detectives collected $106,015, while 44 sergeants earned $128,757 and 10 lieutenants received $135,984.50 on average. Police Chief Steven Zipperman earned $179,289, the data showed.
The wages represent amounts reported on W-2 tax forms. LAUSD released the records to this organization on March. 20. About seven years ago, LAUSD released the names and salaries of employees, but that information only reflected a portion of their gross wages.
Many classified employees work more days and hours than educators to receive their base pay because their work year doesn’t include a summer break or extended vacation over Christmas and New Year’s.
• DATABASE: How much does every LAUSD employee make?
In LAUSD, teachers receive their salary based on 182 days of work and 22 additional holidays. By comparison, a full-time employee with two weeks of vacation and six holidays would work 249 days annually.
In 2014, LAUSD’s 20,848 elementary, middle and high school teachers collected average pay of $70,107. But their median income was $75,125 — a better indicator of typical earnings, because 6.9 percent of those teachers didn’t work enough hours to earn the lowest salary for a newly hired teacher at $45,637.
Los Angeles Unified has between 4,000 and 4,500 substitutes who aren’t guaranteed the district’s base pay because they don’t work every day of the school year.
Additionally the district hired 608 teachers for elementary, middle and high schools in 2014. Every year about 5 to 6 percent of the district’s more than 25,000 certificated educators — teachers, principals and counselors — resign or retire, according to LAUSD’s human resources Deputy Chief Deborah Ignagni.
“So we often find ourselves hiring even during the school year,” Ignani said.
Other groups of employees had less variance between their average and median pays — and decades of experience working for LAUSD. Welders were among the district’s blue-collar employees who earned more than teachers on average. The metal workers were paid $75,297 on average in 2014. The team of 20 men typically started working for the district more than 20 years ago, while the two most recent hires were nearly 15 years ago.
• MORE COVERAGE: LAUSD employee salaries
Another group of skilled tradesmen, the district’s plumbers earned $71,815 on average last year for fixing pipes for the district’s 13,500 or so buildings. Supervising those 102 pipe fixers, the district’s 15 senior plumbers earned $80,285 on average, while their seven area supervisors averaged $103,132 in pay last year.
Mowing weeds, operating cranes and driving dump trucks, LAUSD’s eight tractor and roller operators were paid $75,373 on average last year. Their counterparts, the district’s five tractor operators, averaged $73,504 for navigating machinery that keeps the grass green on athletic fields.
The district’s lawyers were among the higher paid white-collar workers. LAUSD’s 20 assistant general counsels earned $120,216 on average in 2014. An additional 13 associate general counsels averaged $172,944 in pay and five of the senior staff in the legal office collected $185,984 on average. The district’s top legal adviser, General Counsel David Holmquist, earned $264,407.28 in 2014.
Window and wall washers were paid $45,964 on average with the highest paid among them earning $55,136 in 2014 — some 29 years after he was hired by LAUSD. The 15 senior window and wall washers responsible for supervising that group collected an average pay of $55,633 in 2014.
When walls needed painting, LAUSD paid 83 painters an average of $61,290, while their supervisors were paid $66,930 on average.
Among the Los Angeles Unified’s lowest paying positions are 196 part-time employees, who monitored school restrooms, deterring vandalism and restocking toilet paper last year for an average pay $16,639 for the school year.