Things have taken a turn for the worse for Poway Unified Superintendent John Collins.

The Poway Unified School District Board of Education placed Collins on paid administrative leave Monday following a closed-session meeting with the board’s attorney on Sunday.

Officials said in a release the decision was made as “a matter of standard protocol” so an internal audit of Collins’ employment contract could be conducted.

Collins did not immediately respond to a phone message.

Collins has led the district since July 2010 and his current contract – with a base salary of nearly $300,000 – doesn’t expire until June 2017.

Collins’ contract also comes with other perks typically reserved for teachers, like built-in longevity pay increases, a graduate degree stipend and so-called me-too raises – in which Collins automatically gets the same raises as other administrators, which typically mirror those doled out to teachers. Those pay boosts have raised conflict of interest concerns, given Collins’ role negotiating the raises for other employees.

Those extra perks have put Collins toward the top of educator pay lists in the state. According to Transparent California, his total compensation, including benefits, topped $478,000 in 2014.

In December, the school board opted to forgo using the district’s longtime general counsel, Dan Shinoff, and hired its own legal counsel to represent them in talks with Collins and his attorney.

This week’s announcement also comes after a number of high-ranking district employees announced they’d retire at the end of the school year, including two of Collins’ three associate superintendents and the head of facilities.

The associate superintendent of learning support services, Mel Robertson, will serve as acting superintendent until the audit is complete, district officials said.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held May 31.

Ashly is a freelance investigative reporter. She formerly worked as a staff reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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