School board President Richard Barrera said the unexplained decision to put San Diego Unified Chief Financial Officer James Masias on paid leave last week shouldn’t make anyone nervous about schools’ financial reports.

“It has nothing to do with any of the financial analysis that James has done or any specific job performance in any way,” Barrera said, adding that he couldn’t give any more comment.

Another school board member, John de Beck, told the Union-Tribune that Masias had been under stress because of his work on the budget. Financial staff worked long hours this year to balance a thinning budget.

Masias earned more than $155,000 last year, according to salary data the school district provided more than a year ago, but his exact current salary was not readily available from the school district Monday. He worked briefly as a finance director in Denver Public Schools and had an earlier stint in San Diego Unified as deputy to the chief operating officer. Masias is also a former recipient of the Broad Residency in Urban Education, which trains professionals for top managerial positions in school districts.

Masias was put on paid leave last Thursday.


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