SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – While President Barack Obama earns a salary of $400,000 a year, the head of San Francisco’s public schools will earn more than $300,000 a year, after getting a significant raise.

The school board voted unanimously to approve a 25 percent raise over three years for Superintendent Richard Carranza, a move drawing criticism from teachers.

Carranza’s $65,000 salary increase is what the average San Francisco teacher makes in a year.

P.E. teacher Allison Leshefsky makes less than the average, earning $62,000 a year. “For me, it’s not the paycheck that’s the reward, it’s the smiles that I get from the kids,” Leshefsky told KPIX 5.

But she can’t pay rent with smiles. In fact, Leshefsky is fighting eviction from her home in the Castro, she said her landlord wants to put in a new tenant and double the rent.

“With the salary that I make and the rent prices out there, it would mean I’d have to leave San Francisco,” Leshefsky said.

So many teachers are struggling with basic necessities, and that’s why San Francisco Unified is facing criticism for the 25 percent increase.

Carranza’s salary will go up to $310,000 later this year. By comparison, Oakland’s superintendent earns about $280,000 and San Jose’s superintendent earns $243,000, but they are smaller districts.

“When you look at comparable districts in California, they’re paying at about the same level,”school board president Emily Murase said.

The board president said Superintendent Carranza is a hot commodity. “Districts are calling him and trying to recruit him. and so we have to do what we can to keep a very talented superintendent,” Murase said.

The teachers’ union says they will ask for the same reward when they negotiate their next contract.

“There is a respect to the superintendent by giving him a raise. we want to see that kind of respect given to our members as well,” said Susan Solomon of the United Educators of San Francisco.

Leshefsky isn’t demanding a big increase. She said as long as she can afford to live and work in her district, she’ll be happy. “I see learning happening, I see miracles happening. Teachers are miracle workers,” Leshefsky said.

KPIX 5 could not get Carranza to comment about this story Thursday.

The contract is three years and by the third year, the superintendent will be making about $355,000.

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