The Sweetwater Union High School District board room was packed to the gills again on September 10. Frustrated parents, teachers, and community activists demanded to know why a special board meeting was called with an “ambiguous agenda” — and people wanted to unambiguously tell the board not to offer interim superintendent Ed Brand a contract as superintendent.
Almost like a rerun from the Republican National Convention, speakers had to address an empty chair because Brand wasn’t there, and, according to several speakers, hasn’t been in to work for the past three days.
One rumor that was passed around and was that Brand had resigned and was trying to force the board’s hand. When asked point blank, however, board president Pearl Quiñones said, “No, Brand has not resigned.”
After several hours of deliberation in closed session, the audience was left wondering why there was a special meeting. Quiñones told the public the board took “no reportable action” and that Maria Castilleja, executive director of curriculum and instruction, would be serving as duty officer; anyone wishing to communicate with the superintendent’s office should go through her office.
Some people in the back of the room took this for a victory and yelled out to the board, “Thank you for listening!” Others wondered if yet another Brown Act violation had not been committed as the board called the special meeting and paid for three security officers and legal counsel then did none of the things they called the meeting for. The agenda announced the purpose of the meeting to be: “Public employee discipline/dismissal/ release/reclassification/reassignment/resignation or transfer.”