Special to the Village News
Dr. Candace Singh, superintendent of the Fallbrook Union Elementary District, will likely be leaving her position. Suzanne Lundin, board president, made the surprise revelation at the beginning of the board's meeting on Monday, Oct. 3.
Lundin said the superintendent was leaving for another opportunity but gave no details.
"We have recently become aware that Dr. Singh is interested in moving on to the next phase of her career," Lundin said in a prepared statement. "Negotiations around her departure, and our process in finding and transitioning to a new superintendent, are in the very earliest stages. District counsel is involved and will be handling the negotiations. Our governing board is committed to transparency throughout this process, but it is important to note that we will remain in compliance with the Brown Act and applicable employment laws. Similarly, we will not jeopardize ongoing negotiations by speaking out of turn. I can assure our community that we will provide updates as they are available and appropriate."
Singh, superintendent the past 11 years, was not present at the meeting. Some community members recently have been vocal about her salary and have said the school board has not been transparent with the details of a recent evaluation.
Village News and other media have written stories outlining her contracts and pay, agreed to by past FUESD school boards. Subsequent boards have rewarded her for longevity and approved her raises as outlined in her contract. According to Transparent California, her total pay including benefits in 2020 was $455,526.
Singh's contract was renewed in June 2020 and has a stipulation giving a 5% raise if she receives a satisfactory evaluation. Two speakers at Monday's board meeting addressed these issues during the public hearing portion of the meeting.
The 2020 contract was for a base salary of $327,738 per year plus benefits. The contract states if she receives an "adequate evaluation" she would receive a 3% raise plus 2% increase in salary deposited to a retirement account retroactive to June 2020. The board has discussed her evaluation in closed session recently but it's unclear if they "pulled the trigger" to give her the raise.
Fallbrook is one of the smallest districts in the county and according to reports has the second highest-paid superintendent.
According to Salary.com, based on HR-reported data, a national average with geographic differential puts an average salary at $170,000. Superintendents who make $238,448 are in the 90th percentile. Singh makes almost double the highest salary, for a very small district.
The district's public information officer, Seth Trench, said additional information about the superintendent leaving would need to come from district counsel. Jonathan Pearl, legal counsel, didn't reply to an inquiry before the newspaper deadline Tuesday morning. A message to speak to Singh was also not answered before the short deadline for the story.
"It is totally premature to discuss the superintendent's plan or timing," Lundin responded by email. "Our counsel is working through the negotiations, and we will report back as appropriate."
See previous story comparing local superintendent salaries.