Alameda County Superintendent Apologizes for Controversial Staff Stipends

Alameda County Superintendent L.K. Monroe has apologized after her office distributed $600,000 in COVID relief funds to managers in her office who performed additional work during the pandemic. The stipends sparked an outcry from union members. 

At least eight of the managers who received stipends had contributed to Monroe’s re-election campaign, EdSource reports. The amounts ranged from $200 to more than $26,000.

"Superintendent Monroe has acknowledged that the manner in which the stipends were disbursed has caused significant strife in the agency and with the agency's labor groups. She takes full responsibility for this," said County Office of Education Spokeswoman Michelle Smith McDonald. McDonald herself was one of the managers who received money. ACOE vowed greater transparency in the future.

ACOE received $15 million in Covid relief funds from the federal government during Covid. The grants were allowed to be spent on staff who performed additional COVID-related duties, and many districts distributed similar stipends. But union members complained the stipends were distributed unfairly and that they had performed many more hours of additional COVID-related work. The two sides are now negotiating stipends for union members to make the process more fair.

The debacle comes at an inconvenient time for Monroe, who is up for re-election in the June 7 primary.