Central Unified could hire a new superintendent as soon as Saturday (June 9).

The school board will hold a special morning meeting with a sole item: discussing the superintendent in closed session.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells GV Wire that approximately five candidates will be interviewed, and one will be hired by the end of the meeting.

Board President: Won’t Hire Leader on Saturday

However, board president Cesar Granda said that the Saturday session is for interviews only.

“We are not hiring on Saturday,” he said.

Granda would not say how many candidates the board will speak with, but he expects a long closed session meeting.

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Jack Kelejian would only confirm that interviews are taking place.

Central has been without a permanent superintendent since a split 4-3 board fired Mark Sutton on Feb. 27. Granda never revealed why the board terminated Sutton. An examination of nearly 1,000 pages of public documents by GV Wire did not shed light on the reasons either.

The following week, the board hired Assistant Superintendent Kelly Porterfield as interim superintendent.

Some Parents Frustrated

Parents rallied around Sutton, vowing to punish the school board members they felt responsible for his dismissal. They formed Central Community United PAC hoping to change the board and reinstate Sutton.

The PAC is gathering signatures to recall two members: Richard Solis and Phillip Cervantes. Their terms expire in 2020. Although Cervantes voted to keep Sutton, recall advocates say that he was part of the effort to get rid of him.

The Fresno County clerk’s office says those signatures are due back for verification June 19 and July 19, respectively.

Three other board member in the PAC’s crosshairs — Granda, Rama Dawar and Ruben Coronado — are up for re-election in November.

Accelerated Timeline

Sutton supporters urged the board to wait until after the November elections to hire a new superintendent.

In April, the school district announced a proposed timeline that would lead to the hiring of a new superintendent by July. This meeting Saturday appears to accelerate that date.

This could lead to a potentially awkward situation if voters replace the board hiring a new superintendent in an election months later.

The meeting is 8 a.m. at the Central High School west campus cafeteria (2045 N. Dickenson Ave., Fresno). The board will take public comment before the closed session.

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