Monday, June 15, 2009
The Superintendent of the Sweetwater Unified School District is expected to get his report card today. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis explains why a group of school employees and parents say so far he's failing.
SAN DIEGO Sweetwater's school superintendent met behind closed doors with school trustees yesterday to talk about his performance in the South Bay district. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis says his critics used that review to submit their own progress report:
Jesus Gandara has been Sweetwater's leader for about three years. A group of concerned school employees and parents submitted the details of their own progress report in anticipation of the trustees' official evaluation.
Critics say the overall dissatisfaction is tied to Gandara's top-down style of management, personnel decisions, his district spending habits and unresolved contract negotiations.
But teacher Jean Chivira says the community's concerns go beyond union politics.
"(District officials) could settle with us tomorrow, and this is not going to go away," Chivira said "It's not going to go away until we, the members of this community, this family, take our schools back and put in a superintendent that is responsive to this community."
Requests for comment made to school trustees went unanswered. But the district's spokeswoman says there weren't enough community evaluations to indicate that sentiment is shared districtwide.
The Sweetwater Union High School District is the largest public high school district in California. Its now one of 14 districts in San Diego County working to avoid stiffer academic penalties under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.