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Scott Smith to stay with Coast Unified as superintendent

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After receiving a controversial pay raise earlier this year, only to announce his retirement shortly thereafter, a North Coast school administrator was just hired as Coast Unified School District's new superintendent.

NOT DONE YET After announcing his retirement about a month ago, Scott Smith accepted a superintendent position with Coast Unified School District in Cambria. He will no longer split his time between Cayucos Elementary School District and Coast Unified. - PHOTO COURTESY OF COAST UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT'S FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Photo Courtesy Of Coast Unified School District's Facebook Page
  • NOT DONE YET After announcing his retirement about a month ago, Scott Smith accepted a superintendent position with Coast Unified School District in Cambria. He will no longer split his time between Cayucos Elementary School District and Coast Unified.

Scott Smith, who currently splits his time as superintendent between Cayucos Elementary School District and Coast Unified under a shared services agreement, was offered a 10 percent pay raise earlier this year. Though his pay schedule would have already given him annual pay increases, the districts' school boards both voted to approve a $220,085 salary for Smith in January—which came with some pushback from Cayucos parents.

A month later, he announced his retirement.

"I want to thank the trustees for their recent vote of confidence and pay increase that they have provided for me," Smith said in a Feb. 4 message shared to ParentSquare. "Despite their best efforts to get me to delay my retirement a little longer, I intend to submit my retirement notice."

Now, Smith's decided that he's not quite ready to retire. Coast Unified's school board offered him a new superintendent position at its March 10 meeting, and he accepted. The two year, standalone contract will go into effect on July 1, 2022, with a base salary of $190,620.

Coast Unified's board passed the agreement unanimously, which means that instead of splitting his time between the two districts, Smith will serve Coast Unified exclusively—which also means the district's budget will be taking the full brunt of his salary. Before, Coast and Cayucos shared the cost 50-50.

School board President Samuel Shalhoub told New Times that Smith's salary will come out of the general fund, "same as any other employee."

But some community members have concerns about the finances. Coast Unified will have to pay nearly double what it was paying to employ Smith before.

"Taking money directly from very needy student programs for those children who[se] pandemic-related academic skills have fallen far, far behind and pay an over-the-top salary to a superintendent, is a disaster for the children and very-low-paid teachers struggling to make ends meet," Facebook user Brad Bailey commented on Shalhoub's post.

Shalhoub told New Times that he's looking forward to Smith being able to devote himself to Coast Unified full time.

"Scott's hands-on," Shalhoub said. "He literally is on the ground on our school sites working alongside his employees, and that is rare. We'll see more of that because he won't be split 50-50."

Smith said that he never really saw the split-time arrangement as a permanent solution.

"I made sure that I got both districts all the way through COVID, and I stayed with both to get them through," he told New Times. "Now that that's changing, it just kind of evolved."

Smith said he's looking forward to continuing to build out Coast Unified's career technical education programs.

"On a larger scale, I'm looking forward to just continuing to focus on students and student needs, and partnering with the community to do so," Smith said. Δ

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