San Dieguito’s interim superintendent resigns

The exterior of the San Dieguito Union High School District office in Encinitas.
The exterior of the San Dieguito Union High School District office in Encinitas.
(Karen Billing)

The San Dieguito Union High School District’s executive cabinet is feeling the effects of a short-staffed district office.

After the board failed to pass a new interim associate superintendent of business services position on Nov. 17, Interim Superintendent Tina Douglas sent her letter of resignation the next day. She gave 10 days notice that she will be moving back into her prior position.

Without a superintendent since the spring, Douglas was selected to step in as the superintendent on an interim basis, trying to juggle both posts with help from a consultant and John Addleman, the current executive director of planning services. The district is also down another executive cabinet member with the recent departure of Deputy Superintendent Mark Miller, who accepted a position as director of human resources with the Fullerton Joint Union High School District.

Douglas said many in the district office are feeling overwhelmed and working hard to fill in the gaps.

At the Nov. 17 meeting, Douglas brought forward a contract for Addleman to serve as the interim associate superintendent of business services. If approved, it was proposed that Daniel Young, the current director of planning services, would then step in to backfill Addleman’s position.

“I can’t do both jobs, that’s the reason why the request is here,” Douglas said. “Without this, I honestly don’t know what I would do.”

The board itself was down a member with outgoing trustee Julie Bronstein absent and the 2-1 vote in support of the interim position failed to pass as Trustee Katrina Young voted against it. Per the education code, board action can only be taken with a majority vote. Even if members are absent from a meeting, a majority vote of the total board is still required and that night two other attempted board actions failed 2-1.

The proposed interim associate superintendent of business services contract was dated back to May because Addleman has been carrying the extra load since Douglas was appointed to the interim superintendent position. The agreement provides that Addleman would be compensated based upon an annual salary of $205,352 paid in equal monthly installments and that he would continue to receive fringe benefits consistent with his employment as executive director.

Douglas said it wouldn’t be fair for Addleman to continue doing the work if he is not being compensated so with the board’s 2-1 vote, she said she would need to manage both positions by herself.

The next day she sent her resignation.

With her vote in opposition, Young said she wanted to look at the district holistically as there are also other departments that are shouldering extra burdens and need more support. “Regardless of this decision I think it will have a sizable impact on the new board and they should be a part of that decision-making process,” Young said.

Vice President Michael Allman said the board’s plan is to hire a search firm and open up a superintendent search in the coming months. It was decided that the newly seated board would guide the request for proposals for the search firm.

At the meeting, the board was also set to approve a one-time $3,000 stipend for management (such as school principals) and the executive cabinet of associate superintendents. Both motions failed 2-1 with Allman opposed.

In September, the board approved a 4% salary increase and a $3,000 off-schedule payment for teachers for the 2021-22 school year. Historically, management would receive the same salary boosts as the union-supported employees but the 4% raise was not being considered, just the one-time bonus.

Allman said he would be supportive of the $3,000 bonus, or even more, with the provision that it doesn’t include the nine employees who are no longer with the district, even though they did work for the district in 2021-22 school year: “I don’t think its right to pay to people who don’t work for us anymore,” said Allman who was the sole vote against the salary increases in September.

It is possible that the payments, with some revisions, could be reconsidered at the next regular meeting by the newly-seated board.