The cities and unincorporated communities along the border between Southwest Riverside County and North San Diego County include 10 separate school districts.
The smallest district in the region serves a little more than 2,000 students. The largest has nearly 30,000 students. Administrators in all of these districts make salaries in the six figures.
In 2018, the superintendent of Fallbrook Union High School District, who was terminated with severance pay after asking to resign, made more than any administrator in any of the region’s school districts. The superintendent of Fallbrook’s elementary school district also makes about $60,000 more than the superintendent of the region’s largest school district, Temecula Valley Unified.
The following salary numbers were taken from Transparent California, and the enrollment numbers were from the California Department of Education. All numbers are for 2018 unless otherwise noted.
Temecula Valley Unified School District
In 2018-2019, Temecula Valley Unified School District had 29,609 students. There were three high schools, six middle schools and 17 elementary schools, as well as six alternative schools.
Superintendent Timothy Ritter made $266,504, plus $51,383 in benefits.
Two assistant superintendents and a deputy superintendent each made between $196,174 and $204,013.
Murrieta Valley Unified School District
Murrieta Valley Unified School District had 23,251 students at three high schools, four middle schools, 11 elementary schools and two alternative schools.
Superintendent Patrick Kelley took home $248,431, plus $47,171 in benefits.
There were four assistant superintendents, with salaries between $185,375 and $204,427.
Lake Elsinore Unified School District
The Lake Elsinore Unified School District, which covers Lake Elsinore, Wildomar and surrounding areas, had 21,820 students.
There were three high schools, four middle schools, two K-8 schools, 13 elementary schools and three alternative schools.
Superintendent Douglas Kimberly was paid $310,456, and an additional $59,527 in benefits.
Five assistant superintendents were paid between $192,387 and $203,111.
Hemet Unified School District
There were 22,025 students across Hemet Unified School District, which covers Hemet and a swath of land extending south and east to the San Diego County line. The communities of Idyllwild, Mountain Center, Anza, Aguanga and others are included in the vast district.
There were four high schools, four middle schools, three K-8 schools, 12 elementary schools and eight alternative schools.
Superintendent Christi Lynn Barrett was paid $253,595, plus $39,935 in benefits. One assistant superintendent received a higher salary than the superintendent – Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Vincent Christakos made $243,070, along with $73,516 in benefits.
The district’s three other superintendents made between $166,045 and $195,358.
Menifee Union School District
There were 11,949 students at three middle schools and 10 elementary schools and one alternative school in Menifee Union School District.
Full data for 2018 was unavailable, but in 2017, Superintendent Steve Kennedy took home $237,028 as well as $52,097 in benefits.
Two assistant superintendents made $138,328 and $166,900.
San Jacinto Unified School District
San Jacinto Unified School District had 11,568 students. There was one high school, two middle schools, seven elementary schools and two alternative schools.
Superintendent Diane Perez made $231,244 and $70,792 in benefits.
Three assistant superintendents were paid between $185,604 and $187,992.
Perris Union High School District
The Perris Union High School District had 10,893 students at three high schools, as well as one middle school and four alternative schools.
Superintendent Grant Bennett earned $256,307, plus $54,245 in benefits.
One assistant superintendent and one deputy superintendent made between $203,967 and $233,552.
Fallbrook Union Elementary School District
Fallbrook Union Elementary School District had 5,043 students attended school in the district, which has one junior school, two K-8 schools, five elementary schools and a homeschool academy across Fallbrook and U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Superintendent Candace Singh made $327,453 and $53,294 in benefits.
An assistant superintendent and two associate superintendents earned between $189,561 and $234,530.
Bonsall Unified School District
There were 2,518 students at one high school, one middle school and two elementary schools at Bonsall Unified School District.
Superintendent David Jones earned $166,500 and $34,101 in benefits.
There was just one assistant superintendent, who earned $142,038.
Fallbrook Union High School District
There were 2,154 students and just one comprehensive high school, plus two alternative schools, in the region’s smallest school district, Fallbrook Union High School District.
Superintendent Hugo Pedroza asked to resign after the November 2018 election, in which three critics of administrators’ salaries in the district each won school board seats. Before the new board members could take their seats, the previous board members opted to terminate Pedroza without cause, allowing him to receive a severance package. Including his regular pay and severance, Pedroza made $487,380 in 2018, plus $36,707 in benefits.
There was only one assistant superintendent, who made $158,762.
Will Fritz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Lake Elsinore Unified School District Superintendent Douglas Kimberly. Valley News regrets the error.