This article was written by BenitoLink intern Kinsey Canez
The Hollister School District board of trustees unanimously approved on July 26 an employment contract with Elizabeth Wilson to be its chief business officer for a two-year term that ends on June 30, 2024.
Wilson steps into a challenging position as it was revealed in February that HSD was facing a possible budget shortfall of $6 million. Approximately $2.7 million of that was set to be resolved by shifting budget resources from unrestricted to restricted funding in a one-time move. Another $3.3 million was planned to be made through job cuts.
Wilson will receive an annual salary of $162,940, an annual stipend of $750, as well as “the same health and welfare benefits plan provided for other members of the Administrative Management Team,” according to the official contract attached to the meeting agenda.
Wilson’s selection as the next CBO was made through a process that consisted of two rounds of interviews, HSD Superintendent Erika Sanchez told the board.
The first round included representation from Hollister Elementary School Teachers Association leadership, the classified union, the district’s business department—both administrator and classified staff, Sanchez said. There was also “representation from administrative ranks.”
In the second round, Wilson was interviewed by Sanchez and an unidentified special panel. BenitoLink has reached out to Sanchez for information about who participated in these interviews and is waiting for comment.
Wilson’s contract will also include a 1% salary increase, something the board had discussed for unrepresented employees earlier in the meeting.
During the 2021-22 fiscal year, a 1% increase was given to “certificated and classified employees” but not to unrepresented employees, according to the summary provided in the meeting agenda.
Approximately 33 HSD employees are unrepresented, meaning they are administrators or confidential employees, Sanchez said.
Wilson’s position will now be included among HSD’s unrepresented employees.
The district’s current contribution for health and welfare for unrepresented employees is $17,200, while the contribution for classified and certified staff is $17,897, according to an attached document in the meeting agenda.
“The difference in the health and welfare cap currently would be that every unrepresented staff member would get an annual increase of $697,” Sanchez said.
Trustees showed support for the benefit contribution increase.
“We have to do this. This should have been done before,” trustee Jan Grist said.
“If we can’t afford it for one group, we can’t afford it for any group—bottom line,” Martinez added.
The board then agreed to direct Sanchez to submit the contribution increase request to the San Benito County Office of Education for it approval, after which it would then be added to the August meeting agenda for the board to ratify.
Later in the meeting, trustees unanimously agreed to extend Sanchez’s term as superintendent to June 30, 2026.
Previously, Sanchez’s contract with the HSD was for a three-year employment term, from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024. This changes it to a five-year term overall, with her new contract beginning in July 2022.
All other contract terms, including an annual salary of $215,000, remain unchanged.
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