Seattle schools superintendent expects to leave post this summer; parents worry about revolving door

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Jose Banda

SEATTLE — He’s only been the Seattle schools superintendent for about two years but now Jose Banda is announcing he may be leaving the district to take a superintendent job in California.

During Friday’s press conference Banda sounded confident he would be approved as the Superintendent for Sacramento City Unified School District.

“Considering this move is a difficult move for me but this move puts me close to my family,” Banda said.

Sought out by the district in Sacramento, Banda expects to be approved next month.

“Will I be here on August 1st I don’t anticipate I will be,” Banda said.

In the last two years Banda says he’s closed the achievement gap especially in Southeast Seattle and recruited talented teachers.

“I think I’ve given this district a lot in terms of time and effort and truly believe in this community,” Banda said.

But with just two years served, many feel it’s a revolving door creating more instability for the district.

Why take this job in the first place we could have had someone here who wanted the job,” said Gerardo Guitron.

“I never came in with the idea that I was going to always have one foot outside the door but you never know what presents itself,” Banda said.

Banda is the districts fourth leader since 2003. Interim superintendent Susan Enfield served just over a year before leaving for the Highline school district.

Maria Goodloe- Johnson was fired during a financial scandal after serving more than 3 years.

From 2003 to 2006, Raj Manhas was the district’s leader but he resigned when his school closure recommendations were rejected by the school board.

“The turnover rate is higher in urban school districts, we are under enormous pressure but funding has been cut,” School Board President Sharon Peaslee said.

Peaslee admits it has been tough to keep a superintendent for long but she also pointed out that the average tenure for a superintendent across the country is under three years.

Once Banda is approved in Sacramento, the Seattle district will once again launch a nationwide campaign for a new leader.

“As far as money, I am going there for less it not about the money it’s about the opportunity and the family,” Banda said.

The board will appoint an interim superintendent during the nationwide search. in Banda’s case it took the school board more than year to recruit him and cost taxpayers $85,000.

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