Picking San Ysidro’s ninth superintendent since 2013
Zenaida Rosario, a San Ysidro School District teacher, addresses the board at its Nov. 10, 2017, meeting. The district is undergoing a county-mandated "extraordinary audit" that the state is conducting. (Leonardo Castañeda/inewsource)

Picking San Ysidro’s ninth superintendent since 2013

The San Ysidro School District hopes to sign on two new superintendents at its April 12 board meeting — one permanent, one interim.

The San Ysidro School District, which serves some of the poorest students in San Diego County, has been roiled by scandal and superintendent turnover since 2013.

That’s the timeline the district laid out in a pair of Friday news releases. The interim hire is Edward Velasquez, a retired Los Angeles-area educator who also was the district’s fill-in superintendent for four months in 2015.

The school board voted 3-2 Thursday to hire him for three months, although terms and salary have yet to be worked out. A district spokesman told inewsource Velasquez will likely start working before the April vote.

The search for a permanent superintendent also is now on a fast track. Friday was the deadline to apply for the job, and 20 people put in applications.

The school board will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday to winnow the field to five to eight candidates. The names of the applicants aren’t being made public, and the board will deliberate in a closed session on who makes the first cut.

Then, on Wednesday residents will have a chance at two community meetings to weigh in on what they want from the next superintendent. The first is at 8:30 a.m. at Ocean View Hills Elementary School, and the second at 5:30 p.m. at Willow Elementary School.

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Board members will start interviewing candidates on March 23 and select up to three finalists. The district will check their references during the following week.

The finalists will be interviewed one more time during a closed session at the board’s April 12 meeting. The board is expected to announce the new superintendent that day.

Whoever gets the job will oversee a district with a budget of about $50 million. The district serves roughly 4,800 students in grades kindergarten through eighth, with many among the poorest in San Diego County. For the 2016-17 school year, 36 percent of the students are homeless and 81 percent received free or reduced price lunch.

San Ysidro’s superintendents since 2013
When the San Ysidro School Board chooses a new permanent superintendent, the person will be the ninth to have held the top administrator’s post since 2013. Here’s a rundown of the former superintendents from the past five years.

Manuel Paul (permanent): Resigned in 2013 after being indicted on corruption charges. He pleaded guilty in 2015 as part of a pay-to-play scheme and was sentenced to two months in federal jail.
Gloria Madera (interim): An assistant superintendent who took over for Paul. She resigned in 2014 after the county Office of Education said the district might not be able to meet its financial obligations.
George Cameron (interim): A retired National School District superintendent who was brought in as the district began to face possible bankruptcy and a state takeover. He resigned in 2015.
Edward Velasquez (interim): A retired Los Angeles-area educator who was credited with helping stabilize the San Ysidro district’s finances during his four-month stint. He left in 2015 when the district when the district hired a permanent replacement.
Julio Fonseca (permanent): A former Los Angeles-area educator took over in July 2015. He resigned this past September amid allegation of financial misdeeds.
Jose Arturo Sanchez-Macias (interim): Fonseca’s top deputy took over when his boss resigned. He stepped down two months later amid questions about payments made to himself and Fonseca.
Mary Willis (interim): A retired Los Angeles-area educator hired in November a few days before an “extraordinary audit” of the district’s finances was announced. Her contract with the district ended Thursday.
Edward Velasquez (interim): The retired L.A.-area educator hired Thursday for a second stint as interim superintendent. His contract is expected to be approved April 12, the same day a new permanent superintendent is expected to be selected.

We'll let you know when big things happen.

About Leonardo Castañeda:

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