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Alameda County Educators Call Out Schools Chief Over Unauthorized Stipends

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Oakland Education Association President Keith Brown and Alameda County Supt. of Schools L.K. Monroe.

Supt. L.K. Monroe Failed to Inform Trustees of Payments to Managers Totaling $600,000

By Post Staff

Teachers’ unions in Alameda County are criticizing Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. K. Monroe for paying more than half a million dollars in COVID-19 related stipends to employees without informing the Alameda County Board of Education (ACBOE).

The unions, which are backing Monroe’s opponent, Alysse Castro, in the upcoming June election, are saying the payment of these stipends is unethical, lacks accountability and adds doubt to her credibility as a leader.

According to a union media release, the superintendent’s office has resisted publicly accounting for these expenditures, violating Ed Code 1302, which says a county superintendent cannot provide stipends of more than $10,000 without first bringing it to the board for discussion.

At least half of the staffers who received large COVID-19 stipends also contributed to Supt. Monroe’s re-election campaign. In all, 11 ACOE employees made political contributions to Supt. Monroe’s campaign, and she awarded the stipend to nine of them, the media release said.

“This is a blatant disregard to educators, parents, and community members who have been advocating to keep schools in Black and Brown communities open. The Alameda County Office of Education oversees the Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) budget, and them handing out stipends to management like nothing shows where their loyalty lies,” said Oakland Education Association President Keith Brown.

“Together, we are united in keeping accountability in Alameda County. Superintendent Monroe’s attitude with all of this is a failure on her end as a leader. The irony in all of this is that the funds have been there all along to support our classrooms and students, and instead the funds are given to employees who have the least contact with our students,” said Castro Valley Teachers Association President Mark Mladinich.

“It’s a true shame this is what our leadership has decided to do with public education. As educators, we are going to do what we have always done – which is fight back to win the school students deserve,” said Dublin Teachers Association President Robbie Kreitz.

“Accountability matters. If it is not educators and parents who are going to do the work in supporting ethics in our classrooms, who will?” said Fremont Unified District Teachers Association President Brannin Dorsey.

“This is taxpayer money that is being used without accountability, and it is extremely unfair to families in Alameda County who expect these funds to go towards where they are meant to go – to support the educators and staff who are actually with the students every single day,” said San Lorenzo Education Association President Karen Rosa.

At press time, the Oakland Post had not received a response to these allegations from Supt. Monroe.

A recent EdSource article reported that Monroe apologized last week after her office spent the COVID relief money on stipends for her staff, mostly for managers who took on extra duties during the pandemic.

Stipends ranged from $200 to over $26,000, depending on the amount of extra work employees did, which included COVID testing, contact tracing, distributing masks and overseeing logistics, the article said.

The post Alameda County Educators Call Out Schools Chief Over Unauthorized Stipends first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.

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