The superintendent of Hesperia Unified has been given the go-ahead to cut his own salary.


The school board gave Mark McKinney the thumbs-up on his plan at their meeting Monday night.


The superintendent of the largest school district in the Victor Valley had suggested the cut at a meeting in January. McKinney and the assistant superintendents hadn't taken the full set of furlough days that other HUSD employees had taken in the 2010-2011 school year.


"I heard that this has been a festering wound," school board president Chris Bentley said Monday night.


McKinney suggested cutting his own $156,260 salary in an effort to lead from the front as more cuts are contemplated throughout the district for the 2011-2012 school year and beyond. District officials are currently working under the assumption that voters will not approve the tax extensions endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown, which will mean the HUSD will lose approximately $7 million in the coming school year.


Several of the board members Monday night did not want him to take the same furlough days as the rest of the employees, however.


"On days when you're not here, who's going to steer the ship?" asked board member Anthony Riley.


The board did not vote on the issue, but indicated that they did not believe they needed to exercise direct oversight over the superintendent lowering pay or benefits, as opposed to raising them. McKinney will consult with the district's lawyers and get back to the board later in the school year.


"They weren't supportive of furlough days: 'No, we want you here, just take a pay cut,'" he said Friday. "My goal will be to bring that back before the year's over, something effective July 1."


The next regular meeting of the HUSD school board will be held on March 7 at 6 p.m. in the HUSD Educational Support Center Annex, 15576 Main Street.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.