The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved the contract for a new assistant superintendent to oversee the district’s 16 elementary schools.
Claudia Monjaras currently serves as Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She previously served as principal at Hall District Elementary School.
As Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, Monjaras will earn $163,561, plus a master’s degree stipend of $3,913.
Monjaras will also oversee the Migrant Head Start and Special Education departments.
The trustees voted 5-0 in favor of the contract, with Trustees Georgia Acosta and Oscar Soto absent.
The position opened in June, when Kasey Klappenback left.
Monjaras’ appointment comes two weeks after the trustees voted 4-3 to deny her contract. Trustees Acosta, Adam Scow, Daniel Dodge Jr. and Olivia Flores dissented.
The no-vote came despite a plea from Interim Superintendent Murry Schekman, who said filling the position was vital, particularly since those duties have fallen on the shoulders of Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Instruction Lisa Aguerria, who already oversees the district’s 13 middle and high schools, as well as seven departments.
In order to bring the item back for a new vote, at least one of the trustees who dissented had to make the request, Schekman said.
Acosta explained that she wanted to wait until a permanent superintendent is hired, which will likely not happen until the middle of 2024.
But more than a dozen people spoke in favor of Monjaras on Wednesday—none in opposition—saying that the absence in the key position is having district-wide effects.
“Not having someone in this position is truly hurting the students of PVUSD,” said classified employee Sofia Perez.
Dodge said he received several emails from administrators, residents and others asking him to reconsider his vote.
Kelli Crawshaw, who has been a teacher in the district for nearly 30 years, said the previous vote had immediate negative effects that left the district without a leader.
“It was noticeable that during your discussion about it you didn’t once mention our students and what is in their best interest,” she said. “And your no-votes did not have the best interests of our students as the priority.”