Coachella Valley Unified School District to Pay Former Superintendent Maria Gandera $ 299,485 in Settlement for Her February 4 resignation, according to a signed copy of the agreement obtained by The Desert Sun.
The amount includes a payment of $ 259,000 to be made within 30 days of the date of separation and a one-time lump sum payment of $ 40,485 which represents 40 days of vacation that Gandera has accumulated during his 19 months as Superintendent of the CVUSD.
Gandera will also have medical insurance coverage for up to 12 months, paid for by the district, in the same way she received during her tenure as superintendent, the document says.
The settlement agreement does not reveal the reason for Gandera’s abrupt resignation. He indicates that Gandera “has not yet filed a complaint against the district in court”.
The Coachella Valley Teachers Association has said it wants to review the entire settlement agreement before issuing a statement.
CVUSD remains without a Superintendent, as the Board of Directors was unable to approve Acting Superintendent Steve Kennedy’s contract on February 11. The board is planning a special meeting Wednesday evening to address this issue.
Kennedy’s contract was to pay him $ 1,200 per day working in the office and $ 150 per hour for the time he worked remotely. But he couldn’t earn more than $ 47,713 because he’s technically retired, which put the school board on only eight weeks to find a permanent replacement and made some members of the board think about it before approving his contract.
Gandera offered little explanation for her resignation, saying only that she would like to spend more time with her family. His resignation came as the district grapples with the challenges of distance learning amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and with the district discussing a potential return to in-person learning this spring. .
Gandera’s departure came as the district also grapples with the arrest of his security director, Adam Sambrano Jr., who was among 64 people arrested in a county-wide anti-trafficking and prostitution operation. There is no indication that Sambrando’s arrest on January 27 is linked to Gandera’s resignation.
Gandera’s only full school year as superintendent has been marred by the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world and, since March 2020, has forced schools in Riverside County to remain closed. The district closed its office in October for two weeks due to a coronavirus outbreak among staff.
The challenges of the pandemic presented unique challenges with distance learning and providing the technology needed by students to make it successful. Gandera has been instrumental in acquiring hundreds of personal hotspots for families in rural parts of the district, and with pandemic relief and grants that the district has purchased about 18,000 new iPads to lend to students for their distance learning needs.
Gandera is the only Latina to serve as the superintendent of CVUSD. Previously, she was the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Risk Management at CVUSD. She was hired in June 2019 to replace Edwin Gomez and her contract, according to board chairman Joey Acuña Jr., was to pay her $ 250,000 a year.
Acuña, whose signature was on the settlement agreement, said the board would have no further comment.
Andrew John is a reporter for The Desert Sun and USA TODAY Network. Find him on Twitter: @Andrew_L_John. Email him at [email protected]