HAYWARD — School trustees approved a two-year contract Wednesday for Superintendent Janis Duran that includes a release clause in case the district is appointed a state overseer, which would make the post moot.
Duran will earn $229,500 a year, with no medical or retirement benefits. Former Superintendent Dale Vigil's gross pay in 2009 was $235,135.
Duran's contract includes a 30-day termination clause and no buyout option — protections for a district that is facing the threat of state takeover.
Trustees Jesus Armas and Maribel Heredia commended the inclusion of such safeguards as well as the savings incurred by not offering benefits.
"This is a great contract that has minimized the district's exposure," Heredia said. "Thank you, Superintendent Duran, for accepting the offer."
Duran, a former superintendent of San Lorenzo schools who served as interim head of Hayward Unified for 18 months starting in 2004, came out of retirement in January to again lead Hayward schools.
Board member Luis Reynoso said his colleagues were less than forward about how they arrived at Duran's contract. In particular, he took issue with the two-year term, which he said never was openly discussed.
"This is a lawless board," Reynoso said. "You make decisions behind closed doors. You guys are breaking the law."
Armas said Reynoso is mistaken in his allegation.
"We publicized that we would consider the appointment in closed session," he said. "Personnel matters can be handled that way."
The board reported that action on May 12, and assigned members Paul Frumkin and Maribel Heredia to a subcommittee to draft the contract.
Armas said that contract was then "sunshined" — or made public — last week.
"The law allows (this process)," he said. "To suggest the board is lawless is factually untrue."
Mercedes Faraj, president of the teachers union, said the public would have increased faith in the board if more details of the contract were released throughout the process.
"There is a public concern about the integrity within the school board," she said. "There were questions in closed session that we would like to hear. It would increase the trust level of the school board, which is not seen as having much integrity."
The Hayward Education Association and district are scheduled to resume contract negotiations the first week of August, Faraj said.
Duran has said union concessions are critical in order to cut an additional $8 million from the $120 million budget, which needs to be done before Sept. 8 to avoid beginning the process of getting a state loan — and the resulting loss of control over the district.