Two months after Coast Unified School District's superintendent resigned, the school board appointed an interim assistant superintendent during its Dec. 13 meeting and reported positive fiscal health—for now.
Board President Samuel Shalhoub told New Times in an email that the board unanimously appointed Kyle Martin to act as interim assistant superintendent. Martin is the current principal for Santa Lucia Middle School and will continue to fulfill his duties at the school along with the responsibilities of the position.
Shalhoub said the board decided on Martin for the job because the community suggested his name through district-wide listening sessions.
"Kyle Martin emerged as a person that many trust and respect, a person who was consistently suggested would be a good fit to serve in an enhanced leadership role beyond principal of Santa Lucia Middle School," he said. "This input provided the board with a clear direction to pursue, and so we developed a way for Mr. Martin to assume an interim superintendent role."
Martin will be in the position between Jan. 3 and June 30, 2019. Shalhoub said that the district currently doesn't have either a superintendent or an interim superintendent, but the board is planning to explore the possibilities of filling the interim superintendent position in January.
"I am however in discussion with a potential candidate, and there will be public consideration of the candidate and any agreement to be made during our January 2019 regular session meeting," he said.
During the district's listening sessions, Shalhoub said, a considerable number of people suggested that the board hire a person with experience as a superintendent who also had expertise in human resources and budget development.
"The board feels it is a worthwhile effort to appoint a person with these qualities, hence our unique approach of creating the two aforementioned interim positions," he said.
This process comes after 97 percent of teachers signed a letter of no confidence in the district's former superintendent, Victoria Schumacher, in June. Three months after that, Schumacher announced her resignation—her term is slated to end on Jan. 2, 2019. She will be placed on medical leave, using her remaining sick leave from Jan. 3 through the 30. Schumacher will receive a lump sum severance payment equal to three months of salary and health benefits.
During the Dec. 13 meeting, the district also released its first interim budget report for the July 1 to Oct. 31, 2018 fiscal period. According to a staff report, the reserve for economic uncertainty is estimated at $1.4 million, an 11 percent reserve, for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Coast Unified is required to maintain a minimum 4 percent reserve.
Using the district's current budget assumptions, the reserve is projected to be at 6.23 percent by 2020-21.
The reserve will continue to drop, the report states, as the district honors the memorandum of understanding with Cayucos Elementary School District and San Luis Coast Unified School District—a process for Cayucos students and funds to transfer to San Luis Coast Unified schools.
Shalhoub said that through the work of the district's financial analysis committee, it is developing an approach to the budget that will support students' needs, sustain and develop programs, and provide for long-term sustainability overall.
"We will be analyzing the efficacy of our decisions, continuing to listen, and developing a strategy to permanently fill one or both superintendent positions depending on need and input," he said. "There is a lot of hope and goodwill in our community, and I look forward to nurturing that positivity so that will grow throughout the New Year and beyond."