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PPS lobbyist gets sweeter deal from Beaverton

David Williams will get a 28 percent bump as Beaverton follows PPS' lead

COURTESY: PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS - Portland Public Schools Government Relations Specialist David Williams will head to Beaverton School District this summer. Portland Public Schools’ lobbyist, David Williams, is heading over to the Beaverton School District after the 2015 Oregon Legislature wraps up around the beginning of July.

The five-year PPS Government Relations Specialist will get a significant bump in pay as the Beaverton district becomes only the second school district in the state to employ a lobbyist on staff.

Williams made $101,774 in the 2014-15 fiscal year and will receive a starting salary of $129,908 in Beaverton — an increase of 27.6 percent.

In April, the PPS was thrown into controversy when news reports came out revealing salary increases of up to 15 percent or more for administrators over the last four years. Supporters said the raises were needed to retain and attract top talent.

PPS’ Public Affairs Chief Jon Isaacs, Williams’ boss, says: “I would say this is one example of what has happened frequently (with other employees) where the compensation offered at PPS is less than what is offered at other districts. ... It’s an example of what happens when our compensation isn’t competitive with other school districts or other public agencies.”

Williams himself received a $3,728, or 3.8 percent raise in the last year. But when asked if he was leaving because PPS couldn’t offer more money, Williams says: “I’m not leaving because of that. That’s not the case.”

Williams says that, rather, the driving force was a higher position with greater autonomy and direct access to the superintendent.

“It’s kind of hard to say no to cabinet-level work, along with the pay increase,” Williams says. The Lake Oswego resident works in the Public Affairs department, but spends most of his time during the legislative session in Salem.

Maureen Wheeler, a spokeswoman for Beaverton, said with the district’s $680 million bond projects, which voters passed in May 2014, they are increasingly running into the need to talk to the city and Washington County, as well as the state government. Coupled with the district’s economically and racially diverse population of nearly 40,000 students and the complexity of school funding issues, Wheeler says, “It’s been really a need we’ve had for a number of years.”

Isaacs says Beaverton, like PPS, has unique issues and he anticipates that most of the time they will be working together to advocate for public schools at the Legislature.

“There are just times when you need to have your own voice,” Isaacs says.

The search for Williams’ replacement will start with an analysis of the job description and pay scale. Isaacs says he anticipates it will pay similar to what Williams’ received and tied to the successful candidate’s level of experience.

Williams could argue that he's worth it. He points to two bills that saved the district about $7 million per year. The first is House Bill 4009, which shifted the responsibility for the education of medically fragile children in the Providence Child Center to the Oregon Department of Education in 2014. The other was House Bill 2632-A which excluded renewed local option levies from urban renewal district tax revenue calculations in 2013.



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