HAYWARD — In a move that has surprised many, the school board has dropped its search for a new superintendent and named interim schools chief Janis Duran to the position on a permanent basis.
How permanent that will be is unclear. Duran, who has been in the interim job since January, said she agreed to stick around longer because of the district's many problems. The length of her stay is being negotiated.
"Basically, the district is in a very precarious position," Duran said. "Knowing that we need to make Draconian cuts and do something about the low achievement, which is out of control, what the district needs is stability."
The consulting firm hired find a new superintendent wrote to the board that it had collected applications, "completed an initial screening of the candidates and then began the vetting process on those candidates who best fit the district profile" before being instructed April 30 to put the search on hold.
The board's action Wednesday night didn't sit well with some community members and trustee Luis Reynoso, who cast the lone vote against Duran's appointment.
"We "... said we would select a superintendent in a manner that included the participation of the public, and use certain criteria provided by the community to help find the ideal candidate," he said. "Now, the community is out of the picture, and we didn't even tell anyone what we were doing in closed session. We are acting like cockroaches."
Board President Paul Frumkin said a search for a superintendent will resume in the future — and public input will be part of that search. But the bottom line is that the district needs stability now.
"We're dealing with major budget issues and restructuring some schools," he said. "It's just not practical to go through a search right now."
Frumkin said the title change was done to promote stability.
"When you say 'interim,' that is interpreted as being a position in transition," Frumkin said. "When you use the title 'permanent,' there's more authority behind the title. It's kind of weird, but that's how it works."
Duran said it does not have to do with contract negotiations.
"My intention is to serve the district, and to be compensated for it not in a manner unfitting for a district of its size," she said. "There's much work to do here, and what (the title) means is, 'We must get down to business.'"