Former San Ysidro school Superintendent Julio Fonseca speaks before the school board during a 2015 board meeting. (Megan Wood, inewsource)
San Ysidro School District's former Superintendent Julio Fonseca speaks before the school board during a 2015 board meeting. (Megan Wood/inewsource)

A San Diego councilman, a San Ysidro school board member and the public were quick to react Friday to an inewsource report that ex-Superintendent Julio Fonseca was paid at least $1 million in compensation for 26 months of work. That averaged out to make him the highest paid superintendent in the county and the second highest paid in the state.

“It’s almost disturbing to see this level of incompetence from the school board,” said San Diego Councilman David Alvarez, whose district includes San Ysidro.

Fonseca’s generous pay, Alvarez said, speaks “to the incompetence of the school board members who were either misled or blatantly gave away this type of a package deal.”

Alvarez said he’s concerned that the school board’s actions are hurting students in the district, which is one of the poorest in the county. The board should “be spending more on students and families, not on individuals that are already well taken care of,” said Alvarez, who is also a candidate for the county Board of Supervisors next year.

The public took to Twitter to express its outrage that Fonseca earned annually an average of $493,000 to lead the San Ysidro district.

San Ysidro board member Antonio Martinez also issued a statement on Friday after the inewsource story ran, saying, “If the allegations are true that the former Superintendent abused his power, I will fight in every possible way to recoup the taxpayers’ money and I’m calling for the School Board to convene a special meeting immediately to discuss all options at our disposal.”

Martinez also called for the district to revise the compensation for interim Superintendent Jose Arturo Sanchez-Macias, who makes an annual salary of $223,000, not including benefits.

Fonseca’s pay including deferred life insurance and gap health care coverage benefits were approved unanimously by the board for the superintendent, as well as for the then deputy superintendent and current interim Superintendent Jose Arturo Sanchez-Macias.

To read a breakdown of Fonseca’s compensation and how it compares to other superintendents click here.

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Leonardo Castañeda was a reporter and economic analyst for inewsource. To contact him with tips, suggestions or corrections, please email leocastaneda [at] inewsource [dot] org.