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Outgoing Sunnyside board buys out Isquierdo's contract

From the archive: This story is more than 5 years old.

Outgoing Sunnyside board buys out Isquierdo's contract

  • Former SUSD Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo leans back and listens to his contract buyout become official at a special meeting on Monday.
    Ryan Revock/TucsonSentinel.comFormer SUSD Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo leans back and listens to his contract buyout become official at a special meeting on Monday.

After more than seven hours in executive session, the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board voted 3-2 to buy out the contract of Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo at a special meeting on Monday night.

Isquierdo will be taking home $499,500 as the outgoing board, with two members who were recalled and will no longer be seated on Tuesday, voted to grant the controversial district leader's request to be released from his position.

Isquierdo's contract, approved last year in a move that prompted the recall effort, called for him to be paid his entire salary if he were to be dismissed with or without cause.

Governing Board members Eva Dong and Daniel Hernandez voted against the buyout.

The settlement, which will see Isquierdo paid less than the $527,000 potentially owed under his contract, was supported by his two recalled supporters, Louie Gonzales and Bobby Garcia, and his harshest critic on the board, Buck Crouch.

“I am disappointed that the buyout occurred because I felt that [Isquierdo] was putting on the table opportunities for us to be able to not spend so much money,” Dong said. “[Isquierdo’s] first thing was ‘I want to try working with the new board’ but a couple people told him that wasn’t going to be happening.”

Isquierdo reportedly offered to step down as superintendent and remain with the district selling the district’s technology model to other school districts, Dong said. This would have offset the money that will be paid to the former superintendent, she added.

During the voting, Dong took the opportunity to put forth her views of the buyout. Crouch walked out of the boardroom during her speech followed shortly by Hernandez.

At a special Governing Board meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., two new Governing Board members will be sworn into office and the process of selecting an interim superintendent will begin.

“We gave him 18 months worth of his salary versus the 24 that was in the contract, not the best choice but at least we are getting him out of the district,” Crouch said.

As for walking out of the boardroom while Dong was speaking, Crouch said, he is “tired of her blathering on and on and on.”

Isquierdo will shortly submit his resignation, effective July 2, and will work from home beginning June 7, according to the terms of the settlement agreement.

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