Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

SFUSD superintendent agrees to postpone departure

Superintendent Vincent Matthews will postpone his resignation from San Francisco Unified School District until 2022 to maintain stability, he announced Monday.

Less than a month ago, Matthews announced he would retire in June after serving as superintendent since 2017 for the district he once attended himself as a student. At the time he said he believed it was “the right time” to leave, but on Monday said he would continue in the role until June 2022.

“I strive to maintain the humility and wisdom to change direction with new information and have agreed to remain with SFUSD for another year,” Matthews said in a statement. “I am dedicated to supporting all of our SFUSD staff as we navigate the many challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in the coming year. I have the highest regard for the team assembled at SFUSD and am honored to continue to work together.”

SFUSD is on the verge of welcoming its first batch of students back to in-person learning on Monday and must work out plans for the fall with uncertain enrollment. It faces a projected $112 million structural deficit by the 2022-2023 school year as state and federal aid is still being determined.

Board of Education President Gabriela López said that the district needs to “focus” on returning all students to physical classrooms and stabilizing the district budget. School board members previously acknowledged they would likely need an interim superintendent, which could require its own hiring process, before landing on a permanent replacement.

“SFUSD needs stability at this time,” López said on Monday. “We agreed that an inclusive community process for selecting the next superintendent could take up to a year. With that in mind, I asked the superintendent to delay his retirement by another year. His commitment to the wellbeing of our young people has shone through.”

The district is also facing multiple suits, filed or potential, over school renaming and a vote to end merit-based admissions at Lowell High School. Board member Alison Collins also filed a lawsuit last week seeking a total of $87 million over a 5-2 vote to strip her of her vice-presidential title and committee assignments in response to a controversy overher 2016 tweets.

At the same time, a recall campaign is collecting signatures to oust Collins, López, and Board member Faauuga Moliga.

People who called into public comment last week as the school board discussed a process to pick Matthews’ replacement lamented his departure.

“We honor you, we’re going to miss you,” said Rionda Batiste of the district’s African American Parent Advisory Council. “It’s going to be extremely hard to replace you.”

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