BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The Delano Union School District named a new superintendent Monday, a pick that already worries the teachers union there.
The trustees voted to hire Anthony Monreal, deputy superintendent of the Madera Unified School District, to oversee Delano's K-8 district.
He will replace Superintendent Robert Aguilar, who is retiring after 30 years of district administrative experience throughout California.
Aguilar retired once before, in the late 1990s, but says this time it will stick. He has worked for the Delano district for about five years.
"You know, this job is a wonderful job," Aguilar said in a phone interview Tuesday. "It's a wonderful opportunity to work."
Delano Union has not determined a starting salary or start date for Monreal, but Aguilar -- who was outside the office Tuesday -- said he should have more details when he returns to work. He earns a salary of about $150,000.
Monreal served as deputy superintendent for instruction for the California State Department of Education from 2007 to 2009, when he started as superintendent of the Oxnard School District in Ventura county.
He began the deputy superintendent job at Madera Unified in June 2012; in December of that year he was elected to the Raisin City Elementary School District board southwest of Fresno.
Monreal was not available for comment Tuesday.
His past experience already worries some Delano educators.
Mark Kotch, president of the Delano Union Elementary School Teachers Association, said teachers have doubts about Monreal's ability to change what has been a growingly contentious relationship between the union and Delano district.
He cited both reports of a threatened teachers strike in the Madera district last year and a Ventura County Star article that said Monreal was placed on paid administrative leave fewer than eight months after he began his role in the Oxnard district for a confidential "personnel issue."
Kotch said he is worried Monreal will exhibit the same top-down management style that has plagued the district.
"We would rather have good relationships than more bickering and fighting," Kotch said.
He said he worries how the new superintendent will impact future negotiations. The union plans to seek ongoing raises, which would follow an agreement passed Monday for teacher bonuses.
"My worry is we haven't received a raise here in six years, so it would seem that we're in for more contentious negotiations at the table," Kotch said.
Aguilar said an ongoing raise would depend on information included in the governor's budget revision, planned for a May release.
"We work hard to make sure that everybody gets the best we can provide," he said.