johndewey

Sweetwater Interim Superintendent Ed Brand to Get Contract?

Although no meeting notice has been posted on the Sweetwater Union High School District website, several reliable South Bay community members are passing around the information that the Sweetwater board will hold a special meeting ...

erupting Sept. 2, 2012 @ 4:12 p.m.

Probably because John was a day late,and tried to take credit for Gandara when it was a done deal once Lopez made her press statement about Gandara. Obviously Mrs.McCann is smarter than her husband,she seems to realize that the public is fed up. I don't think John will do anything but vote for Brand's contract,after all he wears the uniform as we all have been told over and over and over.

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Visduh Sept. 3, 2012 @ 9:36 a.m.

Generally, in fact almost every time, when a school administrator like Brandara starts to take his/her fat STRS pension, that's the end of the public education career. The fact that Brand is willing to lose his unearned income in order to go back to employment with a school district tells us much about him and the employer. (Precisely what it tells us is not clear, but some generalizations are in order.) A dictionary definition of "megalomania" includes such things of illusions of grandeur and wealth, along with a desire for power. Doesn't that describe him, his behavior, his attitude toward the public and the parents, and his career to date? He can be freely described as a megalomaniac from here on out.

In the short run he may appear to succeed, but this situation in SUHSD cannot long endure. And what he's doing is setting up the board for an even bigger fall than if he helped the district get a really good, honest and capable "supe" and then went away quietly. But that's not Brand. In fact, if he continues as he is, the next thing could well be criminal charges filed against him.

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Susan Luzzaro Sept. 2, 2012 @ 8:31 p.m.

anniej--even though I had reported on it, so much washes through the brain that a person forgets --which is to say, I had forgotten that Dr. Brand has already had a contract buy out in north county...

It's good to have people remember and remind the readers about the chronology of events.

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Alex_Anguiano Sept. 3, 2012 @ 6:50 p.m.

If a special school board meeting is called for to offer a contract to a superintendent, it would be an illegal meeting. AB 1344 took effect January 1, 2012 as a response to the scandals in the City of Bell. However, district administrators are aware that calling for a special meeting would violate the law. Guess I’d better remind the Board anyhow. Hopefully, it is just a rumor that is being circulated. This should only happen at a regularly scheduled public meeting. Come on Sweetwater, let’s do the right thing.

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“Secondly, in efforts to increase transparency, district boards will no longer be authorized to call a special meeting to deliberate the salary, salary schedule, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits to a local agency executive. Subsequently, after January 1, 2012, any action by a Board to approve or renew the contract of a local agency executive must be taken at a regular board meeting and cannot be approved at a special meeting of the board. However, this provision does not prohibit a local district board from calling a special meeting to discuss the district’s budget.”

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http://csda.informz.net/admin31/content/template.asp?sid=26233&brandid=3092&uid=766765396&mi=1467414&ptid=320

“SEC. 9. Section 54956 of the Government Code is amended to read: 54956. (b) Notwithstanding any other law, a legislative body shall not call a special meeting regarding the salaries, salary schedules, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits, of a local agency executive, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 3511.1. However, this subdivision does not apply to a local agency calling a special meeting to discuss the local agency’s budget.”

http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_1301-1350/ab_1344_bill_20110920_enrolled.pdf

More info:

http://www.acsa.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/Media/EdCalNewspaper/2011Archives/Dec11/Contracts.aspx

http://www.csba.org/LegislationAndLegal/Legal/CaliforniaCouncilOfSchoolAttorneys/~/media/E6F19A54B4A547379736F1DB6A7C35D9.ashx

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joepublic Sept. 3, 2012 @ 3:36 p.m.

I watched Brand's "explanation" videos linked to this article. They are little more than hire me campaign pieces. The only thing missing is "I am Ed Brand, and I approve of this message". What a farce!

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fflintstone Sept. 3, 2012 @ 10:27 a.m.

I share everyone's concerns about Brand continuing as superintendent. His agenda is not student centered or fiscally responsible. I sincerely hope that, if the Board does give him a contract, they do not include compensation for his having to "unretire" from STRS.

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anniej June 12, 2012 @ 12:37 a.m.

Ms. Luzzarro: i have observed Mr. Vasquez for a couple of years now. He is NOT a detractor, quite the opposite. He has at every opportunity pointed out more about what is right with the students, teachers, parents and some aspects of the board. the fact the board and brand are charged by law to provide information to the boc is regulation, so why isn't brand honoring what he is legally charged with doing.

our board is not use to dealing with a bond oversight committee (boc) president who is dedicated to integrity. for far too long the boc was led by 'yes' persons, i.e. persons who were associated with certain board members, i.e. either married to them or a sorority sister of one of them. well this is a new dawn day of a new day - and we the community are proud that there are now members of the boc that are willing to stand up and speak the truth. i mean after all isn't that what they are legally charged with doing? what could potentially happen to Mr. Vasquez and the other members if they chose to turn a blind eye?

"hello Ms. Bonnie Dumanis, we know you are busy, but we need you to look into our district. - AGAIN"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"hello, County Board of Educations, i believe there is the real possibility that the sweetwater district is insolvent - so you tell us, who calls the STATE, your or us?"

the information, provided which is based on the county board's numbers is proof, proof that there is much wrong with sweetwater under the leadership of the majority of the board and the interim superintendent, brand.

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DavidnPB June 3, 2012 @ 7:36 p.m.

Sweetwater should hire the formet City Manager of the City of Bell near LA.

He is looking for a job, and it seems he would be the perfect fit.

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eastlaker June 12, 2012 @ 8:22 a.m.

I ask myself, what made me start wondering what was going on with Sweetwater--and when I started to get that feeling that things were not right, it was several years ago in perhaps the second iteration of the budget reduction. The district website's comment section for sugggestions from the public was so carefully and closely screened that essentially nothing of substance was ever made public.

If you are not hiding something, there is no need for secrets. If you are telling the truth, all the information can easily be forthcoming. It is only when you are trying to keep the public from knowing what they should rightfully know that it is necessary to act the way this Board of Trustees and the Superintendent(s) and all the administrative lackeys have acted, and still continue to act.

What a crew, brewing the festering stew of misappropriations, lies, pay-offs, bribes, threats (to those who attempt to let the truth be known) and assorted sordid goings-on too numerous to mention.

We aren't afraid of you and your threats. I think you know why.

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Alex_Anguiano June 12, 2012 @ 11:26 a.m.

At last night’s school board meeting, Public Communication was moved to the end of the agenda. At 10:02 p.m., the school board meeting recessed with only one remaining item left: Public Communication.

I suppose the school board will reconvene someday to hear Public Communication so that the June 11 school board meeting can end.

I had two issues that I wanted to share in the Public Communications part of the agenda. I wanted to discuss how school master schedules are shaping up for the upcoming school year since I have reviewed most of them. They look bad. As they are shaping-up, students will have more program changes than ever before, hundreds of classes will start without a teacher of record, and many teachers will need to be transferred to new schools with little time to prepare for the 2012-13 school year.

The master schedules are not standardized. For example, Eastlake High School’s schedule included the names of some teachers, but not most. Some listed teacher A, B, C,…, others included the names of teachers that have lost their jobs. What a mess. I am pretty sure that the district has not reviewed the master schedules. All-in-all, they are the worst master schedules that I have ever seen. They need to be fixed. School starts next month.

The other thing that I wanted to discuss was that the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) will not allow exemptions to the earning limit ($31,020) for the upcoming school year. (http://www.calstrs.com/Help/forms_publications/printed/MemberHandbook/after_you_retire.pdf) That requires immediate attention since we will need a new superintendent one and a half months into the new school year. There is another option. Our superintendent can work for free.

Our HR department failed to file an exemption for our superintendent and his wife. I understand that they are scrambling to do so since the exemptions must be approved by June 30, 2012. If it is not approved, STRS will require reimbursement for monies received beyond the earning limit.

I sincerely hope that our district does not waste student resources to attempt a legal maneuver to circumvent the law. We have a situation that needs to be addressed quickly.

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Jmbrickley June 3, 2012 @ 6:16 p.m.

Some of the latest numbers we have received from the State show that the State Matching Fund (County School FF Fund 35) has received approximately $61+ million from the State. Yet, there has been $152 million transferred out of that Fund between Jan. '11 and Feb. "12. There has also been transfers into the Fund of $170 million. If the State has only contributed $61 million, then the rest of the $170 million is because SUHSD is paying back money it has borrowed. That sum looks to be about $110 million. Yes, they are paying it back, but they aren't suppose to be borrowing it in the first place.

Looks like money is also continuing to be borrowed from the Prop. O Fund, as well as Mello-Roos Fund. Guess using one credit card to pay the payment on another is alive and well in the South Bay.

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Sweetwater Union High School District Borrowing on Bond Funds?

At the June 11 Sweetwater Union High School District’s board meeting, Fran Brinkman and other members of her group (which reported corruption concerns to the district attorney) will ask trustees: What is going on with ...

anniej June 3, 2012 @ 6:20 p.m.

john mccann, tell me it isn't so - you stood before all and pompously gloated, intimated that you had charged in on your white horse and stopped the practice of borrowing prop o funds. remember the meeting? we all sure do, how could we forget it, so how could it be?????????

could it be? that mccann did not, once again, know what he was talking about? could it be that mccann once again was speaking with forked tongue? could it be that brand has authorized behavior that is unbecoming an ITERIM superintendent. oh, excuse me that is brand & associates.

brand & associates, according to a recent article in star news brand was quoted that he had the district hire brand & associates so he could receive both his pension from his days as a school district employee and his current $20,000.00 a month salary as interim super.

oh my another discrepancy? i was of the impression that mccann was all for pension reform, that he supported the candidacy of De Maio, but how could that be? when the brand & associates issue came up at the last board meeting mccann sat there, once again mute - never said a word in objection. guess he is only against pension reform when it does not affect brand.

and mccann wants to know why he is being RECALLED - ah hello, it is because he is inept - just like jim cartmill, arlie ricasa and pearl quinones.

looks like board member lopez was right again. for over a year now (if not longer) she has been asking the tough questions regarding prop o - it appears she has been led astray. astray is that a synonym for lied to?

WOW, THIS IS BIG FOLKS, REALLY BIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! taxpayers funds being used without their consent - an interim superintendent and the majority of the board fibbing to the public about it. in this case i have to say i doubt if quinones had a clue, but the then board pres mccann, well, according to him he was the captain of the ship -

IT APPEARS FOLKS THE PROP O SHIP HAS RUN AGROUND - someone call the hero mccann - surely he will save the day. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we are not talking about supplies here folks, not talking about paper cups we are talking about millions of our tax dollars.

just my opinion

just my humble opinion

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erupting June 7, 2012 @ 1:58 p.m.

Is anyone surprised? No, Sweetwater is the gift that keeps on giving unfortunately. I think the DA's office will be very busy because Brandara thinks they don't care. I bet when they look into this that things hopefully will change.

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Jmbrickley June 3, 2012 @ 7:15 p.m.

Leadership starts at the top. The very top! Four of our current Board members really don't pay much attention to what goes on beneath their station. The rely on reports from the Gandara, and now the Brand as to the well being of the District. If the Sup says it A-OK, they nod their heads and go back to their lives. They don't ask questions, because questions require effort, and effort is something these four do not want to put into this job.

It is this very lack of effort that kept some of them from learning about State laws regarding gifts to public officials. It is this same lack of effort that keeps them from asking the hard question of their Superintendent and the mood of their community. It is this very lack of effort that keeps them from even asking those people who know the honest answers, the very necessary questions regarding the day-to-day business of the District. Instead, they continue to take the easy path, the path they have been allowed to take for years, because no one was paying attention.

Well, that is no longer going to work. The community is asking some very hard questions regarding the District's budget, it's spending policies, and it's educational goals. No longer are the answers so easily given. The answers today require deep thought, sound logic, and above all, a root in reality.

Four of the current Board members almost never ask questions of anybody.

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eastlaker June 3, 2012 @ 9 p.m.

I recently read somewhere that Sweetwater Union High School District could just as well call itself "The Most Corrupt School District in America"--at the time I thought that might be an exaggeration, but now I am not so sure.

We've known for about 5 years that Mello-Roos funds were being comingled--wrongly.

Now, it seems that all of the funding has been used like a slush fund for whatever the Board and the Superintendent decide to purchase. I wonder what account the iPAD payment came from. I wonder if whomever sold the iPADS ended up comping the Super-duper Brand and the Board in some way.

How many times have we heard the phrase, "They have no shame!" And yet we continue to find out more. What a unique combination: the pretense that all is well coupled with a stench of corruption so foul it must be reaching the upper reaches of government entities by now. I hope someone up there is paying attention. We want this stopped, cleaned up.

We want our educational system back in recognizable, intelligent, honest fashion. The students deserve it. The teachers deserve it. The remaining honest admistrators deserve it. The public definitely deserves it.

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anniej June 3, 2012 @ 11:27 p.m.

Eastlaker: i am sure john mccann wishes there was an albertson's manager he could phone to help him, cartmill, ricasa and brand out of this. i may be wrong but i do not believe that quinones had/has a clue that prop o monies, mello roos monies, and others (others i say) ) are allegedly being used as a slush fund. lopez, little bertha lopez had an inkling - soooooooo many times she asked about the prop o funds, the state matching funds - she has even called for a forensic audit of the districts books. wonder if she has read this article?

it is time for a BELL LIKE investigation into all that is sweetwater - while sweetwater consists of many cities - one of them is NOT BELL, Ca. time will tell

national media coverage - it has been mentioned before - when it happens the roof will be blown off - somewhat like a tornado - in a tornado the pressure outside affects what is going on inside and poof the roof is gone and all is exposed. time will tell

the prop bb grand jury investigation clearly indicated that there was a need for further investigation - and before the community knew it several key employees at sweetwater were headed for greener pastures - brand included. yet what did mccann do, mccann brought him back. remember the night last june - when brand talked about his love for the district his desire to leave his mark indelibly on sweetwater - well that indelible mark will be like the book 'the scarlet letter'; however in our case there will be several wearing a big C vs an A. C for corruption. it will be hard for the district to explain those redacted reports won't it? would love to be there when they try and tell the FBI "that is attorney client privilege". time will tell

gone are the political futures of mccann, ricasa, and quinones - gone are any future superintendent appointments for brand - all gone!!!!!!!!!! how will the little man who wanted to be king get out of this one? no, a phone call or email to the ut will not work, another cover story about mccann and all he has done - we know what he has done - NOTHING, ZERO, ZILCH. we want mccann and them OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! time will tell

hopefully they will all decide "'in the best interest of the District' - we have collectively decided to step down - it is what the taxpayers want and we will honor their wishes" - surely they are not blind as to what is coming, surely they see the writing on the wall. time will tell

it now rests on board president pearl quinones shoulders - time for her to take control - while there is little doubt all BUT she and lopez knew - now she knows - so it is up to Pearl - what is she going to do about it? time will tell

in the mean time TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK

my humble opinion

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eastlaker June 8, 2012 @ 8:50 a.m.

There is a definite need for some forensic accounting. I would hope that someone is on that now.

And, as you said, in the best interest of the district, we need some people who are 100% commited to serving the public, not themselves.

While I can recognize that the past several years have been challenging with the reductions in budgets, I can also see that funds have been 'misallocated' -- items have been funded that should not have been funded.

I think that IB programs need to be strongly analyzed to make sure that when we as a district spend money, there is value. We need to see the results from that program as well as from the Compact for Success. What are the numbers? When students are admitted to the state university system through Compact for Success, what are graduation rates, attrition rates, drop-out rates, return rates? GPAs? What are the performance levels? All this information should be available to the public so that we can do cost/benefit analyses. And I say this as a person with a background in humanities, not business. But we need to make sure that what we do is not a waste.

This is part of the transparency that I would like. There is no need to make everything a big mystery unless someone is trying to hide something.

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anothereastlaker June 9, 2012 @ 2:07 p.m.

I recently noticed that the minutes to the board meetings are no longer available. Where have they gone? An item on a recent board agenda asked for $1.5 million to fix an observatory at EHS. No one even teaches astronomy there...why do we need an observatory? Did the item get approved? How can the public know if the minutes aren't there. Talk about a waste of my expensive Mello-Roos dollars!

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