With an interim superintendent taking over after former superintendent Max McGee's sudden resignation last month, the school board will discuss tonight allocating an additional $168,000 to cover salary expenses, with a net cost of $43,000 for the transition in leadership.
The cost of McGee's resignation agreement — six month's pay and benefits through the end of the calendar year — is about $161,000, but the district will save about $286,000 from his salary, benefits and car allowance the rest of the school year.
The board unanimously appointed Karen Hendricks, who had been hired this year as assistant superintendent for human resources, to lead the district for the remainder of the school year after McGee resigned Sept. 29.
Staff are recommending the board waive its two-meeting rule on Tuesday and amend Hendricks' contract to pay her about $224,000 for the rest of the school year — $68,000 more than her initial salary. (This is based on prorating the 2014-15 entry level salary for the position of superintendent for the remainder of the year, according to a staff report.)
Staff are also proposing that Hendricks be able to request, with the board president's approval, up to 10 additional paid days "as necessary to conduct the business of the district" at a per-diem rate of $1,317.
Hendricks' car allowance would remain the same at $450 per month.
Staff are also asking the board to set aside up to $100,000 in this year's budget to pay for an interim human resources director to take over Hendricks' duties.
In Hendricks' first-ever "Weekly" message on Friday, a regular memo in which McGee provided updates to the community on ongoing initiatives and board work, she promised stability during a period of transition.
"With change can come many emotions, including uncertainty. Please know that I will, with all certainty, do my absolute best to support the people and the work of this school community," she wrote. "My commitment to you is in supporting the most positive student experience possible for each of our students, and to partnering with you on behalf of that goal."
Hendricks has experience working in this kind of environment: her most recent job was as interim superintendent in the Carmel Unified School District.
Hendricks asked parents, staff and community members to be "confident that the superintendent's office is in caring and capable hands, and that a strong system of support exists during this period of transition.
"We have a significant amount of important work ahead of us," she wrote. "This includes abundant opportunities to expand upon what's working well and also to address and mitigate challenges that exist."
In other business Tuesday, the school board will discuss major facilities updates at several elementary schools, including a renovation of Hoover Elementary School and conceptual designs for new multipurpose buildings at El Carmelo, Escondido and Walter Hays schools.
At Hoover, the district plans to build a new administration building, multipurpose building, library and two smaller classroom buildings as well as improvements that include expanded playing fields and a new outdoor courtyard. The construction budget is estimated at $16.7 million, but staff warn in a report that recent bids have been coming in as much as 20 to 30 percent higher.
And since January, when the board set aside $37 million from an elementary reserve fund to begin the process for new multipurpose rooms at the elementary schools where they're most needed, district staff and an architecture firm have worked with advisory committees at each campus to develop conceptual designs. The board's original allocation is no longer enough to complete all three buildings "as now envisioned," a staff report states; the current estimate is $47.8 million.
"The choice is either to redesign simple replacement at the expense of the optimal future design of the campuses, or fully fund two of the projects through construction, and fund design work for the third project. Staff, in consultation with the site administration of the third project, has chosen the latter approach," a report states.
Staff is recommending the board fully fund El Carmelo and Escondido's multipurpose rooms and only the design work for Walter Hays, which is the most expensive project (estimated at $21 million). Construction there may require funds from a future bond or other sources, staff noted.
The board is also set on Tuesday to approve the 2017-18 district goals, discuss the creation of a subcommittee to provide feedback on the environmental impact report for Stanford University's General Use Permit process and award a contract to renovate the pool at JLS Middle School, among other items. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district office, 25 Churchill Ave.
View the full agenda here.