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Breaking: Cary Won't Seek Contract Extension

In a victory for his critics, SB Schools Superintendent Cary Matsuoka has decided not to ask for an extension of his $354,000 contract, the school board president announced Wednesday.

Matsuoka “has not asked for an extension to his contract, and he has informed us that he will not seek one as connected to his evaluation process,” according to a statement sent out by school board President Wendy Sims-Moten.

The statement comes one day after the board met behind closed doors for three hours to discuss the superintendent’s new job performance evaluation, amid a barrage of complaints from parents about Matsuoka’s management style and a lack of transparency at the district, as well as student test scores, the achievement gap, controversies over the district’s privately-subsidized academies, contracts with non-profit vendors, the treatment of dyslexic students and other issues.

A brief history. Matusoka was hired on a three-year contract in June 2016. Both in the fall of 2017 and 2018, he asked for, and received, a one-year extension to keep the three-year term in place.

This means that his contract now has an end date of June 2021.

The school board previously had been headed towards a showdown vote next Tuesday over whether to add another year to his contract. Although the board is divided in their opinions of his performance, it is unlikely they will vote now that Matsuoka has decided to fold.

It was unclear from Sims-Moten's statement, however, whether he wants to serve out the remaining 20 months of the contract as a lame duck, remaining in his post until June 2021.

“No comment,” public information officer Camie Barnwell said in response to queries seeking clarification.

Education sources said that it in California, it is common for public school superintendents to receive three year contracts; some contain automatic extensions, which require a school board to vote against the extra year if they are unhappy with a superintendent's performance; others, like Matsuoka’s, require an affirmative vote of the board to extend.

Here is the text of the Sims-Moten statement.

In response to public comment and media reports about Superintendent Matsuoka’s contract and evaluation process, Santa Barbara Unified School Board President Wendy Sims-Moten made the following clarifying statements.

“Superintendent Matsuoka’s contract is in place through June 30, 2021. He has not asked for an extension to his contract, and he has informed us that he will not seek one as connected to his evaluation process. The Board will not be voting on his contract since it is valid through June 2021 and he has not asked for an extension.”

“With regards to the superintendent’s evaluation process: at the October 22, 2019 board meeting, the Board will complete the evaluation process in closed session. There is no voting involved with an evaluation process, nor reporting out of about the evaluation outcome, as it is a personnel matter.”

Images: Matsuoka speaks to parents unhappy about his sacking of former San Marcos High School Principal, spring 2018; Matsuoka and district report; Wendy Sims-Moten.

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