The Sweetwater Union High School District board narrowly approved extending the contract for Superintendent Jesus Gandara until 2012. Board member Greg Sandoval, who voted against the extension along with Pearl Quinones, said he felt the existing contract was “valid and good enough.” If the board had not approved the extension, the contract would have gone until 2011.

The new contract also includes a provision that seems to arise from Gandara having been eyed for a superintendent’s job in Texas earlier in his Sweetwater tenure: If Gandara is solicited for another job or if he looks for one, he must report that news to the entire school board, not just the board president.

The proposal brought out both fans and foes of Gandara — a controversial figure in Sweetwater — to the Monday night school board meeting. Jose Preciado, president of a political action committee called the South Bay Forum, said he was concerned by the animosity being directed at Gandara and argued that the debates over what Gandara had spent on meals and travel were silly.

“Do we have a perfect superintendent? I don’t know if that’s even possible,” Preciado said. He added, “We need a strong superintendent and a superintendent who understands they have your support.”


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