HAYWARD SCHOOL BOARD | A $229,500 contract for interim superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs was unanimously approved by the Hayward school board early Thursday morning, despite some controversy over his lack of an administrative credential and former employment with the district just over six months ago.
Board member John Taylor, who has been the strongest advocate for Dobbs and most intimately involved in trying to bring him back to Hayward was again supportive. “We have come up with a highly qualified person and I feel he will take us forward and move us through all the backlash and waste of time,” said Taylor. “He is a gentleman who knows business and knows how to operate a district.”
Board President William McGee was not pleased with the salary figure offered to Dobbs and had argued for it to be lower during closed session Tuesday. Last week, he claimed he was being “harassed” by people about his credentials. According to board member John Taylor, some of those people who were “harassing” him were reporters including The Citizen asking questions about his background. Dobbs had to be talked into coming back this past weekend after he suddenly told the board he was dropping his candidacy last Friday.
Dobbs’ contract amounts to big raise over the $173,000 he was earning in San Diego. The $229,500 contract in Hayward is similar to the salary of outgoing Superintendent Dr. Donald Evans. According to staff, Evans’s contract was used as a benchmark for the deal offered to Dobbs.
Board member Luis Reynoso also railed throughout the night against Dobbs. However, besides Dobbs’ salary, Reynoso wasn’t interested in having the appointee serving in Hayward at all. Reynoso argued that Dobbs was inexperienced and lacked the necessary credentials to oversee teachers.
“In the process of hiring an interim superintendent, keeping in mind we are the lowest performing district in the county,” said Reynoso, “we would need someone properly qualified.”. Reynoso further argued Dobbs did not have an administrative credential which requires at least three years of teaching experience. “Every superintendent in the county has been a teacher except for ours…The education process needs someone familiar with education.” It was debated by Reynoso if Dobbs could evaluate his assistant superintendents without an administrative credential. McGee stated that Dobbs would be able to review principals and other site administrators but it was unclear whether he could evaluate assistant superintendents. Staff has since then confirmed that Dobbs could in fact review assistant administrators without an administrative credential. Reynoso also questioned Dobbs’ commitment to the district.
Reynoso later added Dobbs spent less than two years in Hayward as a chief financial officer followed by just six months in San Diego in a similar capacity. No one backed Reynoso on this point Wednesday night, but McGee had previously stood against Dobbs returning to Hayward for the same reasons. McGee changed his vote on appointing Dobbs to interim superintendent two weeks ago when the majority of the board, Annette Walker, Taylor and Lisa Brunner, showed their support for Dobbs. Losing support against Dobbs moved McGee to likely cast a ceremonious vote.
However, despite McGee opposing the salary figure, he oddly argued to provide Dobbs with more than the agreed $7,500 in the contract for moving expenses in case Dobbs had to make multiple trips to San Diego. Taylor opposed, “I would caution against it because I would like the contract to stay intact. This is what he agreed to.” The rest of the board offered no support.
On-going discussion on revamping the board’s bylaws concerning superintendent contracts also happened to be on the agenda the same night the board was approving Dobbs’ deal. Undoubtedly, the debate repeatedly alluded to Dobbs. Reynoso used the opportunity to criticize Dobbs. “What if someone lied about their degree, their certificate? We need language here to reflect that,” said Reynoso. “What if somebody commits a very similar, serious offense?”
Steven Tavares contributed to this article.