The Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach, already contending with a multimillion-dollar budget hole linked to an asbestos scare, is losing its top administrator.
Supt. Gustavo Balderas is leaving to head a school district in Eugene, Ore. The board of Eugene School District 4J unanimously approved Balderas' appointment as superintendent Wednesday night. The job comes with a $185,000 salary. He is scheduled to start July 1.
"I'm looking forward to returning to my home state of Oregon, setting down roots in Eugene and engaging with the district and the community to carry forward that tradition of excellence," Balderas said in a statement provided by the district.
It was unclear when Balderas would work his last day at Ocean View. His base salary there is $215,000, according to a report in The Register-Guard, a Eugene newspaper.
Balderas could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Ocean View board President Gina Clayton-Tarvin said in an email that the board will schedule a special meeting in the next week to issue a request for superintendent proposals. She said she didn't anticipate the need for an interim superintendent.
"The superintendent hiring season is now, and we have a golden opportunity to find a highly qualified and motivated superintendent for OVSD," she said. "The board of trustees looks forward with great anticipation to working with a new superintendent that will help shepherd us through these trying times."
Ocean View is grappling with a drop in attendance and millions of dollars in unplanned spending associated with asbestos removal and an 11-campus modernization project. Officials say the district cannot maintain the required 3% rainy-day fund for the next two school years and is looking to sell property to shore up a projected $15.8-million budget shortfall through the 2016-17 school year.
Balderas' departure figures to leave two top jobs empty at Ocean View. Asst. Supt. Roni Ellis was placed on paid leave Jan. 9.
Ellis, who oversaw administrative services, including the troubled modernization project, was appointed to her post in July as the renovation began. The district temporarily closed three campuses in October after asbestos was discovered during the project. Some students have returned to portable buildings at two of the schools, though the main buildings at all three remain closed and many students are still being bused to other campuses.
According to Balderas' resumé, he earned a bachelor's degree in education from Western Oregon State College (now Western Oregon University) and a master's in educational, instructional and curriculum supervision from Portland State University before completing a doctorate in education at the University of Oregon. He spent much of his career with the Hillsboro School District outside Portland, including serving as assistant superintendent, elementary school principal, teacher and counselor. He was superintendent of the Madera Unified School District before starting with Ocean View in January 2013.
Balderas also is on the boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley and the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators.