Nov 27, 2009 2:32 PM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Salary costs at Louisiana's education department have jumped 21 percent, and the number of people drawing six-figure paychecks has more than doubled in the two years since Paul Pastorek took charge of the agency.
Even as the number of full-time employees dropped, payroll at the Department of Education grew by $8 million after Pastorek became state superintendent of education in 2007, an Associated Press review of salary data shows.
Pastorek defends the pay as needed to attract and keep the best talent. But huge state budget shortfalls are predicted for several years. And the education salary boosts have raised eyebrows and drawn attention from some lawmakers, who already were bristling about Pastorek's own hefty pay increases since he took the job.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)