The agenda for the June 20 meeting of the Sweetwater Unified High School District board was posted this week. On June 15, parents, retired teachers, a librarian, a former Chula Vista councilmember, and Sweetwater boardmember Bertha Lopez gave a press conference to express dissatisfaction with what was excluded from the agenda — a preliminary step toward the suspension of the district’s superintendent, Jesus Gandara.
Before the agenda was finalized, Lopez had formally requested that board president John McCann agendize a closed session “to give the board the opportunity to discuss the recent activities of Dr. Jesus Gandara in regards to his credit card expenditures, travel expenses, and the hiring of two public relations firms.” Lopez said subsequent revelations regarding changing student grades should also be part of the discussion. She had hoped the board would consider putting Gandara on administrative leave. According to Lopez, McCann never responded to her request.
Though McCann did not respond to a recent invitation to comment, earlier this month he told Voice of San Diego that an evaluation of the superintendent is already on the agenda for June 20.
When asked at the press conference to differentiate between her agenda request and the already-docketed evaluation, Lopez responded: “It’s procedure. In order for the board to consider terminating the superintendent, we first have to suspend him. In order to do this, it has to be on the agenda.” The superintendent’s contract extends through 2013. A satisfactory review will give him an additional year.
Friday afternoon, June 17, the district announced a change of venue for Monday’s meeting. The meeting will be held at the Southwest High School gym at 5:30 p.m.
Pictured: Bertha Lopez