Sacramento city school district hires new chief at $295,000 a year

Jorge Aguilar will be the Sacramento City Unified School District’s next superintendent.
Jorge Aguilar will be the Sacramento City Unified School District’s next superintendent. Sacramento City Unified School District

Fresno school administrator Jorge Aguilar has been officially named the next Sacramento City Unified superintendent with a starting annual salary of $295,000 – $5,000 more than currently paid to outgoing schools chief José L. Banda.

District trustees unanimously approved Aguilar’s contract at their Thursday night meeting.

School district leaders have praised Aguilar for his work with low-income students and English learners. More than 70 percent of Sacramento City Unified’s enrollment are considered disadvantaged.

School board president Jay Hansen, in a statement that he read Thursday, said Aguilar has demonstrated at Fresno Unified that he is “very capable of bringing systemic change that results in improved student achievement, regardless of where a student is on the achievement scale.”

Hansen said that quality “stood out to us” about Aguilar. “He knows we have selected him because we want him to do what he did in Fresno, for our kids here in Sacramento.”

Banda was hired nearly three years ago to run the Sacramento district and remains as superintendent until his contact expires June 30. Aguilar will start July 1 but plans to spend time with staff beforehand to ease his transition into the job, said district spokesman Alex Barrios.

If Aguilar receives positive job evaluations from trustees, he can receive 3.5 percent pay increases in the final three years of the four-year contract. Those increases, if granted, would push his salary to more than $327,000 in the fourth year. In addition, he will receive a $750 monthly expense allowance.

District trustees may also increase Aguilar’s salary at any time, according to contract language. In addition, he will receive up to $10,000 in relocation expenses.

Aguilar also will pay 100 percent of his health premiums and has said he will not take advantage of the tax-deferred compensation plan offered by district since he has an established retirement benefit at the University of California, Merced, Barrios said. Aguilar previously served as a special assistant to the chancellor at UC Merced.

Based on state enrollment data, Fresno Unified is the fourth-largest district in California, serving 73,356 students. Sacramento City Unified has 46,815.