The $180,000 contract for Dr. Brian Stephens was approved by five trustees, with one abstaining and one absent.
Trustee Walter Gouveia abstained in protest of what he called a lack of diversity in the district’s hiring practices. He spoke of the vast diversity among local students and the few district-level positions held by people of different cultures.
On Thursday, Gouveia said in a telephone interview that the district should have dug deeper to understand the demographics of the student population and who would best represent them.
“You can be inclusive or you can be exclusive,” he said. “This is the new Tracy, these are the children coming.”
Gouveia said that the board had feedback from several communities within Tracy but he questioned whether trustees had used that information.
“Hispanic, Punjab and Persian (spoke), and I know (the board) heard them, but did they internalize it?” he said. “The board chose who they chose and they have their rationale and that is fine. I’m talking about all groups that need representation. I think (trustees) had an opportunity and they decided what they wanted to decide.”
He said the decision about a new superintendent should have reflected future changes in the student population.
Gouveia added that there was a candidate who had the qualifications he was seeking, but that person was not chosen by the majority of the board.
During Tuesday’s board meeting James Vaughn, president of the board, reiterated that the majority of the board had voted in favor of Stephens. He said the candidates were diverse and the decision was based on their qualifications.
“We chose the best person for the job,” he said. “No one will ever fill Dr. (James) Franco’s shoes, but I respect Dr. Stephens.”
Trustee Gregg Crandall said that when the board initially chose Stephens, he was “the biggest fan of Dr. Stephens.”
Stephens will begin as superintendent on July 1, the day after Franco retires on June 30.
The board also approved a transition agreement that will allow Stephens to spend 10 days between April 9 and June 30 in the district to work with Franco and become familiar with operations. Stephens will make $800 each day he visits, which is based upon his annual salary divided by the 225 days he is required to work each year.
“It’s an opportunity to be part of the district management team meeting and other meetings around the school district and meet people and learn about the district from Dr. Franco,” Danoy said, “(an) opportunity to get his feet wet with Dr. Franco here.”
“Dr. Stephens is really excited to move to Tracy and learn about the community and integrate himself to the community and the district,” Danoy added. “He hopes to be here no later than July.”
Charter school improvements planned
In other business, the board of trustees voted 6-0-1 on Tuesday to approve a facilities lease agreement for the Tracy Learning Center for Primary, Discovery and Millennium High charter schools. The vote also covered an agreement to rehabilitate the TLC campus using state money and matching funds from Measure B, if the measure passes June 3.
Measure B will ask voters within Tracy Unified School District to approve an $82 million school bond to continue renovating and modernizing Tracy schools.
TLC consultant Jim Bush said charter school officials planned to apply to the state board of education for funds for each school within three or four days of Tuesday’s meeting. The next step, he said, would be planning how to rehabilitate the campus, beginning with the portion occupied by Millennium High School.
The school board was also scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to renew the charter of Primary Charter School, but changes in the petition forced the vote to be tabled. Vaughn explained that because the changes had not been publicized, the board would have to wait until a later meeting.
TLC officials said that they understood the procedure and that they had a 30-day window to get the five-year charter renewal approved by the trustees.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4225.