Explaining our superintendent vote

Why we voted NO on Eric Dill as the San Dieguito Union High School District Superintendent.

We were asked to approve the hiring of Mr. Dill as our superintendent for the San Dieguito Union High School District.

We voted no because we believe approval of him is premature.  We were given the choice of one candidate for the most important job in our district. The other three trustees refused to consider anyone else.

When we conducted interviews with experienced Superintendent search firms, we were told that the beginning of the calendar year was the most productive time to find the best superintendent.

We believe we have a responsibility to our students, parents, faculty, and taxpayers to at least explore, during this optimal time, what other candidates may be available.

While Mr. Dill may be the best candidate, we don’t know that he is the best one for this district because he is the only person that was considered. We do have concerns that Mr. Dill has no teaching degree, has never taught in a classroom, has never run a school as a principal or served in any other administrative position at a school.

He also has very limited experience working with parents in terms of problem solving or providing a district’s educational vision.

We have students under-performing in many of our subgroups and we believe we should have someone with experience in improving student achievement, of which he has no experience.

The school board has approved certain items over the past year based upon Mr. Dill’s recommendations that are now problematic for our district, and concerns us.

He strongly advocated for the lease-leaseback agreements, which we raised concerns about because of the litigation trend to sue districts because these models were being challenged as not having competitive bidding.

Our dissenting votes were of course repeatedly ridiculed and protested by union representatives and others.

Unfortunately, despite our cautioning against entering into lease-leaseback agreements, the district has received an intent to sue letter pertaining to several of these contracts on the exact basis we tried to warn the other members of the board and Mr. Dill about.

But now, under threat of a lawsuit from a well-respected law firm, supported by a state taxpayers organization, he is recommending that we do a complete turnaround and rescind our vote on these contracts. In other words, he is now recommending that the board do exactly what we recommended months ago.

Mr. Dill also advocated for certain other questionable fiscal decisions, such as the 12.5 percent employee raise, which raised our budget by a total of $15 million if you combine the certificated with the classified and administrative raises, including his own raise. The school district now has a nearly $10 million deficit.

We will always put your children’s education first.

Until a search is conducted, we believe it is premature to make this extremely important decision.

John Salazar and Maureen “Mo” Muir are San Dieguito Union High School District Board Members.

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