Del Mar trustees give Peabody two-year contract as superintendent

Del Mar Union School District trustees today voted unanimously to give Interim

Superintendent James Peabody a two-year contract as the district’s new superintendent and to rescind pink slips given to 22 classroom teachers.

At a special board meeting — where trustees also agreed to drop the idea of co-locating the district office at any school site and named Steven McDowell the new board president — trustees accomplished a lot but Peabody’s contract was perhaps the biggest surprise.

“In getting to know Jim these last few weeks the intent is that we want him to act in the full capacity as superintendent,” McDowell said.

His two-year contract as superintendent will begin on July 1. It follows an interim contract, where he was also serving superintendent for the Julian school district.

The news that all classroom teacher’ jobs would be preserved was happy news as only 12 teachers remained uncertain of their futures with the district — other teachers had already heard news that their pink slips were rescinded.

Trustee Katherine White made the motion to save the 12 teachers despite the fact that the district does not yet know final enrollment and staffing needs. Since classroom sizes will not be increased and instead reduced to 20:1 in lower grades and 27:1 in upper grades, White said in her quick calculations, she was pretty sure “we’re going to need all those people.”

While all classroom teachers saw their pink slips rescinded — a vote that was followed by big cheers and hugs from teachers in attendance — some Extended Studies Curriculum positions will trimmed now that the principals have completed their ESC allocations.

The Del Mar Education Foundation raised enough money to save 13 extended studies curriculum teachers and when paired with the 19 teachers the district will fund, that brings the total to the equivalent of 32.4 full time spots for ESC.

The final ESC cuts include 1.8 FTE of music, 0.5 art, 0.4 from science, 0.2 from physical education and 0.5 Spanish. These cuts are significantly scaled back due to fundraising efforts, considering initial cuts included 6.6 FTE from music, 7.0 from art and 6.0 from PE.

The board’s decision not to consider co-locating the district office at any school site was a unanimous decision, but some trustees had reservations about it.

Trustee Comischell Rodriguez, in her first meeting since resigning as board president, said it was good to have the concept as an emergency option in case they weren’t able to find a building to house their district office or extend the lease on the Shores property by their May 2011 deadline.

“I think it’s a good gesture on the board’s part to take co-location off the table as long as we are actively pursuing property (for the new district office),” Rodriguez said. “I’d like to see us actually begin to make offers soon.”

For more on these issues, check out next week’s print editions of the Del Mar Times and Carmel Valley News.