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School trustees OK committee to seek superintendent

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday night narrowly approved a plan that could result in a new superintendent being hired by early July.

The proposal by board President Richard Barrera calls for a “hiring committee’’ of 15 people — three per board member — to narrow down potential candidates by June 15.

No search firm would be hired as a consultant under the plan. Barrera said consultants “have failed the district repeatedly” by recommending people who were simply climbing the job ladder and not interested in the position on a long-term basis.

The district has been without a permanent chief executive since September, when Terry Grier left for Houston.

Grier gained a higher salary with the move, but had also fallen into disfavor with a board majority that is backed by the San Diego Education Association, the union that represents the district’s teachers.

William Kowba now holds the job on an interim basis.

Barrera’s plan passed by a 3-2 vote.

Board member John De Beck said not having a search firm meant the district might not find the best superintendent, and many people without great qualifications will apply for the job.

“The best superintendents aren’t unemployed,” De Beck said. “We’ll get the best of the worst.”

Shelia Jackson, who also voted no, said board members needed to be more involved in the process.

District staff was ordered to flesh out Barrera’s plan and return for another vote in two weeks.