Sacramento City Unified names Banda as new superintendent

Sacramento City Unified trustees, as expected, voted Thursday night to name José L. Banda as the district’s new superintendent, concluding a search that began about seven months ago when Superintendent Jonathan Raymond departed.

The 6-1 vote for Banda, with trustee Jay Hansen dissenting, came in closed session and was announced at the start of the subsequent open meeting. Banda did not attend the meeting.

Banda is superintendent for Seattle Public Schools, where he was hired in July 2012 from the Anaheim City School District.

Trustee Gustavo Arroyo, one of three board members who traveled to Seattle to explore Banda’s leadership, said local leaders there consistently credited Banda for his collaboration and his ability to bring stability to the district.

“It was a reassurance of the talent that Mr. Banda brings to the district,” Arroyo said.

Under the terms of the three-year contract, Banda will receive $290,000 yearly in total compensation.

When former superintendent Jonathan Raymond left the district at the end of 2013, he earned $272,000 in total compensation, including a $12,000 yearly stipend and $15,000 yearly annuity for supplemental retirement income.

Since his departure, interim Superintendent Sara Noguchi has run the district.

In Seattle, Banda earns $270,000 a year and $700 a month in travel expenses. He is expected to leave that job and start in Sacramento by Aug. 1.

The Sacramento contract specifies that if the school board – without any fault by Banda – unilaterally terminates Banda before the end of three years, the district will pay him up to one year of pay, or $290,000, depending on how much time remains on the contract.

Board President Patrick Kennedy and Banda are expected to appear at a district press conference Friday morning .

Banda has said he will prepare a plan for his first 90 days in office and will meet with community groups and watch the district’s existing operations before proposing significant changes.

Sacramento City Unified faces difficult educational challenges.

It is the Sacramento area’s only district on the state fiscal warning list. Enrollment has been dropping. Close to 70 percent of students are deemed low-income by federal standards, and a fifth are English learners.

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