Cash-strapped Paso school district selects new superintendent
August 8, 2014
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The financially troubled Paso Robles Joint Unified School District has selected a Fresno County administrator to serve as superintendent at a base salary of $170,000.
Chris Williams, an assistant superintendent of human resources at Central Unified School District in Fresno, has received an offer to become the next Paso Robles superintendent. The Paso Robles school board is expected to hire Williams at its August 12 meeting to replace Kathy McNamara, who retired at the end of June.
The school district is currently in the process of repaying two capital appreciation bonds totaling more than $30 million. It had to issue the bonds in order to raise money during the economic downturn.
A 2012 San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury report stated that the district was near insolvency and had to take corrective action in order to avoid being taken over by the state.
In turn, the district cut teachers pay by 9.72 percent over a two-year span in order to keep schools operating through this year.
But, between 2009 and 2012, McNamara’s salary increased from $161,813 to $182,500. Paso Robles teachers responded by delivering a 97 percent vote of no confidence in McNamara in Feb. 2013.
Williams will likely begin with a base salary of $170,000, but the proposed contract calls for his pay to increase 3 percent yearly, so long as he receives satisfactory evaluations. The contract also grants Williams $15,000 to move himself and his family to the area.