REGION — A public-records request shared with The Coast News revealed that the chief financial officer at San Dieguito Union High School District, who oversees a budget of about $142 million, does not have a college degree.
Per the district’s personnel policy, Delores Perley does not need a bachelor’s degree for that position, but one is required to substitute teach. Perley’s salary in 2016 was about $145,000, according to Transparent California, and her benefits roughly cost an additional $26,500.
Board member John Salazar wrote in a statement, “I am surprised that the Chief Financial Officer of our district is not required to have a college degree. The enormous responsibilities of the position and the extremely generous compensation it pays should require a formal education with a degree in accounting.
“I believe the public would look at this as cronyism. I certainly use a Certified Public Accountant with my finances and I would think it would be prudent for the District to do the same.”
The chief financial officer operates under the general direction of the associate superintendent of business services and assists the associate superintendent “in the overall development, planning, oversight and implementation of the District’s fiscal operations,” according to a district job description. Job candidates can demonstrate work experience in lieu of holding a college degree.
On EDJOIN, a popular education job-posting site, position descriptions in California for a chief financial officer typically either required a master’s degree or stated that one was preferred.
For example, in June, Sweetwater Union High School District posted a job opening that required a master’s and “six years of progressively responsible senior management fiscal experience” for its chief financial officer. The salary range was given as $187,452 to $213,160. A similar position at Total Education Solutions – L.A. required a bachelor’s, preferred a master’s and offered up to $150,000.
The one posting that, similarly to San Dieguito, did not require a bachelor’s degree paid significantly less money. The salary range for Di Giorgio School District in Arvin, a small city in Kern County, offered to compensate its chief business officer between $39,708 to $60,948 annually, depending on experience.
San Dieguito Union High School District projects deficit spending across the next three school years, with a combined reserve whittling down to the danger zone and state-mandated minimum of 3 percent by 2020-2021.
Audio clip of Approved SDUHSD Board Audio provided by SDUHSD Watchdog features CFO Delores Perley providing an overview of the numbers during a Board of Trustees budget discussion on June 8: