At last week's meeting I questioned the board's use of "clarifying questions" to defend their positions and educate their critics about why they planned on approving the new contract's for the district's assistant superintendents. The board president's response indicated he felt that the public was lucky to have five minutes to address the board. He stated that many of the surrounding districts only allowed 2 minutes for parents to address their support or concerns. Other board members expressed that they get so little opportunity to address their critics and when they believe someone is misinformed they feel compelled to correct them. Mr Sanchez made the most revealing statement when he said the meetings were for the board and not the public. This isn't the first time we've heard this from Mr. Sanchez.
I believe this board is misinformed and I feel compelled to correct them.
I agree the board meetings are for the board to do their work but they are required to be held open to the public. The Brown act requires time be allowed for the public to address the board. The board was not elected to tell us we are misinformed. If we are misinformed, it is because this administration has not made a serious effort to involve and inform the public. The board has not directed the administration to increase parent involvement or to better inform parents.
In one of his clarifying questions to Superintendent Dr. Kayrell, Sanchez asked Kayrell if the superintendents' new contracts resulted in any monetary gain and Kayrell said they did not. I compared the current contract with the new ones and pointed out to Mr. Sanchez and Dr. Kayrell that the contracts did include monetary increases. They included annual step increases every July, beginning this year. They also obligated the district to reimburse the superintendents' for their employee portion of their retirement contributions. To say these are not monetary gains is dishonest and I told them this. I know if I were to purposely mislead my boss in a public forum and he relied on my information to make an important decision, I would be looking for another job.
Contrary to the board members claims that they don't have enough opportunity to address their critics, each trustee gets unlimited speaking time on every agenda item and at the end of each meeting. Mrs. Lara spent about 7 minutes of her time that night to read a letter praising the district's leadership. Each board member, with the exception of Mr. Orozco, spent much of their time to complain about my negativity and to tell parents when we are misinformed they need to correct us.
Interestingly enough I didn't hear a single member help me to understand how the Superintendent can get away with making a misleading statement to a direct question from the board president. Either the board members were aware of the monetary increases and approved of the superintendent misleading them in a public forum or they hadn't reviewed and compared the new contracts for themselves and didn't know what they were approving. It may also be possible that I am misinformed and don't know what I am talking about but not a single trustee took any of their unlimited time to correct me or to even address the fact that I basically told them their employee had misled them.