My first 100 days: stabilizing the District

Our District requires a quick start. In my first 100 days as a Governing Board member, I aim to accomplish the following 8 common sense reforms which, with the aid of my colleagues, should be readily achievable:

1. We must immediately begin establishing our District's plans for a nationwide search for a permanent superintendent, and begin the search process in accordance with those plans.

 

These search plans and the search itself must be created and conducted with the help of the community. Moreover, best practice must be followed at all times during the hiring process. Best practice demands the creation of a stakeholder committee, which would be comprised of Board members, educators, administrators, and community constituents. This committee would be tasked with creating a list of qualifications that the new superintendent must meet, setting out our community's vision for the District's future, and helping select our permanent superintendent.

I am currently in the process of creating a new draft District manual which establishes the steps in the hiring process and how the community will be properly involved in it. This manual takes best practices from other states and provides SUSD a clear path when the issue of searching for and hiring a new superintendent arises again.

2. We must immediately appoint an internal auditor who reports only to the Board and who has the authority to examine all District transactions and records.

 

This internal auditor must re-apply for the position, or be rotated out, every 2 to 3 years to ensure continued independence.

 

3. We must hire respectable, independent external auditing firms, rotated every 3 years (e.g., Deloitte, KPMG, EY, PwC), to ensure our limited funds are being used properly.

4. We must hire an Inspector General who has the power to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing by District employees.

 

The Inspector General must have the power to review all District documents, must be a CPA with bona fide experience in public accounting, and will report directly to the Governing Board.

 

5. Board policy must be immediately changed to prohibit any District administrator, educator, or board member from accepting any gratuity or gift from any vendor or prospective vendor to the District. 

 

Our District Policy must be more strict than the state codes on this matter, and our teachers, staff, and administration must undergo annual compliance review and checks.

6. We must immediately recognize the SEA and work cooperatively with the teachers' representatives.

 

This is not a political issue. Alienating the teachers benefits neither teachers, students, nor parents and is senseless. It also means that it is that much more difficult to find stakeholder consensus and support during the superintendent search: something which is absolutely critical if the new superintendent is to have any hope of implementing his or her ideas.

7. We must restore trust in the District by making sure that the Board deliberates openly on all issues that do not effect the legitimate privacy concerns of the students or educators.

 

Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. Actions taken by administrators in public must be dealt with in public. 

 

Our trials are open to the public in the United States. Depriving SUSD constituents from being able to witness the deliberations of the Board breeds distrust and allows for the Board to operate in a "Star-Chamber" like atmosphere that has lead the Board to make the ill-conceived, ill-informed, tragic, and harmful decisions that have come from the the Board's hiring policies.

8. We must responsibly evaluate the number of administrators we have in the District and reduce the level to norms associated within our peer group. Our District is top heavy, which has caused an excessive amount of wastage in our spending.

Any administrator involved in any prior malfeasance involving conflicts of interest with the District will be terminated.