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School Trustees Extend Contract for Simi Valley Superintendent : Education: Despite some objections, board members vote 3 to 2 to retain Mary Beth Wolford. Members are divided on the district’s goals.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Despite protests from some board members who disagree with her vision of the district’s future, Simi Valley School Supt. Mary Beth Wolford on Tuesday was given an extended employment contract.

Trustees voted 3 to 2 at the night meeting to extend Wolford’s contract by one year, until June, 1997.

Although the new agreement does not include a raise, it provides for a $400 monthly car allowance and $175 per month for mileage in lieu of a district-provided automobile.

Wolford has come under fire for supporting a new magnet high school that will require the closure of a junior high school to house it, and for implementing new fees for students riding school buses.

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Board member Debbie Sandland said she refused to sign Wolford’s evaluation and is requesting a review of the process.

“I don’t feel that she has provided us with satisfactory leadership,” Sandland said. “Her priorities are clearly not in line with my priorities. Mine are with the students, and hers are what’s happening in the district office.”

But others praised Wolford for supporting the same programs her critics slam, saying they are innovative ways to stretch district funds in trying budgetary times.

Trustee Norman Walker said the superintendent should not be punished because the school board is not unified on several issues regarding the district’s future.

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“I don’t think there’s a superintendent in the country that could work with this board. We are divided,” Walker said. “We need to work on ourselves. We can’t just continue to replace superintendents.”

Wolford has worked in the Simi Valley Unified School District for eight years. She took over as superintendent of the 18,500-student district in 1993, after Robert Purvis announced he was retiring, in part, because of his frustration with the school’s shrinking budget.

Before becoming superintendent, Wolford worked as the district’s business and property manager.


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