After a one-day postponement and a lengthy executive session, the Tucson Unified School District's Governing Board finally approved a new contract for Superintendent H.T. Sanchez.
The board voted unanimously Friday evening to approve the three-year contract, which has a base salary of $210,000 per year. Vehicle, relocation and other expense allowances bring Sanchez's total compensation to $247,000.
The 38-year-old Texan has until 5 p.m. today to accept the contract. He's expected to start his new job on Monday.
The board also approved consultant contracts for outgoing Superintendent John Pedicone and Deputy Superintendent Maria Menconi, who is also leaving. Both will remain available to help Sanchez adjust to the job.
Pedicone will be paid $1,000 per day, while Menconi will make $750 each day. Instead of working every day, the administrators will get paid as needed.
Both of those contracts expire Aug. 31, although the deals could be terminated earlier.
The negotiations and approval took longer than expected because of what Board President Adelita Grijalva described as "logistics," including conflicting schedules with Sanchez and the board members.
On Thursday, the TUSD board postponed approval of the contract so members could attend a summer graduation for students who didn't have enough credits to graduate in May.
There was also language in Sanchez's contract that is common in Texas, but not typical in Tucson, which also prolonged the process, Grijalva said.
"It's apparently pretty standard in Texas, but it didn't make a lot of sense," she said.
She wouldn't elaborate on the terms but said both sides came to a compromise.
Board member Michael Hicks showed some concern with Sanchez's contract, although he didn't elaborate during the meeting, but said he was still willing to support the board's decision.
Board Member Cam Juarez said it was "a lot of money" but also supported the contract.
Pedicone was paid slightly more, at $211,000, and his total compensation with other allowances was in the mid $250,000s.
Overall, the board expressed satisfaction at its ability to work together to find a replacement for Pedicone, as well as a willingness to move on with its new superintendent.
In a text message sent Friday night, Sanchez said he was "excited about the work we have to continue, building upon the foundation set by the board and Dr. Pedicone."
Sanchez's compensation includes a $25,000 allowance, which is intended to cover transportation, civic duties and technology for outside of his office, such as a cellphone and a computer, and $8,000 in relocation costs.
He will not be allowed to use a district vehicle while in Pima County. If he travels for business outside of the county, he can receive reimbursement for gas mileage or rental-car costs.
Sanchez, who has a history of changing jobs frequently, will also get a bonus, but not until his third year on the job. The bonus will be half of his base salary, a portion of which will go into a retirement account.
Sanchez was previously the interim superintendent of the Ector County Independent School District, in Odessa, Texas, after serving for more than two years as the district's chief of staff.
Some board members from that district wanted to make a last-ditch effort to keep Sanchez and considered naming him the lone finalist for the school superintendent's job.
However, the district announced on its Twitter account Friday that it will meet Monday to discuss naming an interim superintendent, essentially ending its pursuit of Sanchez.
On StarNet: Find more education and TUSD news and resources at azstarnet.com/education
Contact reporter Jamar Younger at email@example.com or 573-4242. On Twitter: @JamarYounger