Despite financial woes, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District will pay its outgoing superintendent six figures in a settlement.
On Thursday, the district and Chris Williams agreed to a severance package worth half his salary, totaling $113,409. Williams will also receive six months of health benefits coverage until he finds another job.
The decision came down in a three hour-long closed door meeting. Friday will be his last day on the job four months after signing a new contract. He has been with the district since 2014 and announced his resignation in December.
The district held a special meeting where dozens of community members and teachers voiced their opinions on Williams and his departure. Many expressed frustration with the prospect of Williams receiving a full year pay, pointing to the district’s dire financial issues.
Board members say they will try their best to keep cuts away from the classroom, but they will need to sever about $800,000 by February 28, 2019, and two more years after that.
“We’ve got some really good programs in Paso Robles and I don’t see a lot of changes to those other than tightening our belt a little bit,” said Joel Peterson, board president. “We should be in a good position to get through those. I’m optimistic about that.”
Former superintendent Julian Crocker will serve as interim superintendent for the district. He will begin on Jan. 1.