The Pleasanton school board recently extended the contract terms, including salary increases, for Superintendent David Haglund and assistant superintendents Ed Diolazo, Julio Hernandez and Ahmad Sheikholeslami.
The trustees also approved the decision to name Diolazo as Pleasanton Unified School District's deputy superintendent, in part so that the district can start implementing a succession plan for when Haglund does decide to leave -- Haglund's new contract runs through the 2025-26 academic year.
Haglund pointed out that the title of deputy superintendent will be given to Diolazo but it is not a new job, more so it is a way to train Diolazo on how to take over in case something happens. He wanted it to be clear it is not a replacement for the previous deputy superintendent.
"Unexpected things happen and if I were to go down or if I would need to go and take care of family business or whatever, there would be a need to have somebody to step into that gap and really that's what this position is designed to do," Haglund said.
In the new position description, Diolazo would serve as the chief officer of the district in the superintendent's absence.
According to the staff report, employee agreements are reviewed and updated as part of the annual evaluation cycle for the executive management team.
Haglund, who is entering his sixth year at the helm, saw the board on July 28 extend his contract for an additional year and create a new four-year agreement that will end on June 30, 2026. His base salary was increased to $369,780.
Both amendments for Hernandez, the assistant superintendent of human resources, and Sheikholeslami, the assistant superintendent of business services, include a base salary of $254,053 and a one-year term extension that will create a new three-year agreement ending June 30, 2025.
Diolazo, who had been assistant superintendent of support services, had a contract amendment that looked a bit different from Hernandez and Sheikholeslami because of his additional new responsibilities as deputy superintendent, which will overlay his existing assistant superintendent's responsibilities.
Diolazo's new contract includes an additional year to his term, creating a three-year agreement ending on June 30, 2025 with a base salary of $259,134. He would also get a "5% increase over base salary and compensation for performing duties of deputy superintendent," according to a district staff report.
Trustee Joan Laursen said it is good to see a succession plan being created because of the tradition of the district to not promote from within the district, specifically in the superintendent role.
"The whole point we’ve asked David to do in all of the things ... is to get our employees the training and the support ... that they need to compete for the job and successfully win it so you’re not just giving the job to an internal candidate because they're an internal candidate," she said. "You're actually giving the job to them because they're the best candidate and the reason they're the best is because we provided that training. That's what this is."
But she said that while that deputy would get the training and experience it would take to be superintendent, it could give them an unfair advantage of getting the job without giving outside hires and community members a choice.
"The downside is you may create an expectation that the role would be automatic ... that is a thing that you know, you'd have to work on," Laursen said
Haglund pushed back on that saying that at the end of the day, the board and the community will still go through the same process of hiring a superintendent and every potential hire will be treated the same.
Trustee Kelly Mokashi shared the same sentiment as Laursen on the deputy position getting an unfair edge and voted no on the job description item, but had more to say on the superintendent's salary. She said that when she did the math, two stipends which are added into the base salary were counted twice, which made his salary almost $370,000 when it should have been closer to $362,000.
After almost half an hour of back and forth with Board President Mark Miller and Sheikholeslami, who said he reviewed the numbers the payroll division sent him, Mokashi said she agreed to disagree and indicated she intended to vote no for the employee agreements item. But after a miscommunication about voting on the agreements separately or together, she ended up voting yes and failed to rescind her vote.
In other business
* The board on July 28 approved a tentative agreement with the California School Employees Association bargaining unit to give classified employees a 3.75% salary increase and more benefits.
"I'm just really delighted that this is coming to pass and that this is going to be approved, and I really appreciate the efforts made to get this agreement done," Mokashi said.
CSEA is the largest classified school employees union in the United States, according to its website. Classified staff are school and district employees who do not require certification like paraprofessionals, office staff, custodians, bus drivers and business managers.
Other items in the agreement include increased contribution toward health and welfare benefits, and contributions toward dental and vision coverage.
"I want to say thank you to our classified, and I just want to be able to support anything that helps retain and appreciate our classified staff because I know that they work really hard," Trustee Mary Jo Carreon.
The estimated annual cost of the 3.75% to the salary schedule will be $1,021,790 and the estimated annual cost of the additional contribution to the medical is at $610,000 in the 2022-23 district budget, which already accounted for the agreement, according to PUSD staff.
* The board approved new child nutrition job descriptions and positions including a chef who will help implement new menus, streamline productivity and make cafeterias run smoother.
Hernandez said the district will be combining several positions in the Child Nutrition Department business division that will help the newly appointed chef move away from serving processed food.
"Moving into the direction of not just having processed but moving into the direction of actually preparing food and cooking food," Hernandez said. "The attempt is to try to streamline, create efficiencies and also add staff to be able to support the universal food program, which all of our students are able to participate in."
He said that the old job descriptions didn't allow the district to provide fresh food because it bottlenecked cooks with small tasks such as pouring condiments and sauce on food, making things run slower.
"Together, the right personnel, the right skill set, the right training, will increase quality and increase our ability to move the meals through the system," Hernandez said.
Student Trustee Annabelle Kim added that she especially appreciates the reorganization and hopes that it will help fix the understaffing problem she has seen at Foothill when only two out of the four lunch lines students use are open.
"I hope that this implementation will expedite that process a bit and just improve the quality of food overall, which I know at least for me is a very big concern," Kim said.