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22 Weeks of Leave per Year – Ontario/Montclair Superintendent Cashes Out

James Q. Hammond is superintendent of the Ontario-Montclair School District.

 

 

The superintendent of the Ontario-Montclair School District has become California’s highest paid K-12 administrator for three years in a row through a series of opaque perks, including one that allows him to cash out a generous complement of sick time that grew to 85 days this year and will continue to increase by five days every year going forward.

Superintendent James Hammond exchanged 110 days of leave — including 25 days of vacation — for $167,596 in extra pay in July. In 2020, he cashed out 100 of the 105 days he accrued to the tune of $152,360.

Hammond’s total compensation, including the value of his benefits, now routinely exceeds $600,000 a year, though his base salary is nearly half that.

Hammond will only have to show up for 232 days this year, but he will collect his daily rate of $1,523 for 355 days total. If he sticks around until 2024, his ever increasing amount of sick time will allow him to get paid for more days than there are in a calendar year.

The Ontario-Montclair School District in western San Bernardino County enrolls about 19,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade across 32 elementary and middle schools. The median household income in the area was $65,046 as of 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2019, Hammond’s $561,748 salary was more than double the state average for superintendents of similarly sized school districts. Even when stacked up against the outliers, Hammond’s wages often surpasses the next highest paid school superintendent by at least $150,000, according to a comparison of Hammond’s pay against those reported to public pay databases.

After seeing Hammond top its own list several years in a row, the nonprofit public pay database Transparent California reached out to the district to make sure there wasn’t a mistake.

Transparent California collects payroll records from nearly every public agency through the California Public Records Act and publishes the figures on its website.

A figure above half a million dollars isn’t out of the ordinary, but it is typically from one-off events, such as a longtime employee retiring or a settlement, said Todd Maddison, research director for the database.

Daily Bulletin

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