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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

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Visduh June 18, 2011 @ 9:59 a.m.

This is the beginning of the end for Gandara. The board is mincing along with this, but the revelations are too serious for them to ignore; they have their own reelections to worry about. Now there is effective public outcry, and it will not abate. What more will be revealed? I'd guess plenty.


joepublic June 18, 2011 @ 3:17 p.m.

Let's just hope they don't offer him a big buyout at taxpayers' expense. He has already stolen enough from us, and there appears to be plenty of evidence to justify his outright dismissal, if not a criminal indictment.


Visduh June 19, 2011 @ 9:19 a.m.

You are absolutely right. But a big buyout is what they probably will do. Odd that not long ago, the not-so-little-anymore Del Mar district board fired its new supe "for cause." There was no public airing of the cause, and she later sued them for wrongful termination. I'm not sure what the result was, or if it is resolved. But they took that drastic step and let the chips fall. Could Sweetwater ever get up enough nerve to do that? Does the board really care what he does if it doesn't bounce back on them?


SurfPuppy619 June 18, 2011 @ 5:01 p.m.

Oh how sweet, my old school district having more problems. Ed Brand was a clown, and it looks like this guy is a clown too!

Is that clown Luis Maetsra still there at Sweetwater????


Visduh June 19, 2011 @ 9:14 a.m.

This one is no clown. He and his minions would be better called crooks.


SurfPuppy619 June 19, 2011 @ 9:05 p.m.

I'm am sorry for smearing all the good clowns of the world!

Very sad that the TOP of this school district is experiencing these kinds of problems.

I LOVED the Sweetwater District. I loved the schools. I loved the students there. I loved the communities, it was without a doubt the best job I ever had...... bar none.


Visduh June 20, 2011 @ 9:42 a.m.

Gandara is an example, albeit extreme, of the kind of talent running many or most California school districts. IMO they deserve no public esteem, and should rank with used car salesmen and lawyers. (Present company excepted, SurfPup.) Think of the number of scandals involving supes in this county in the past decade, think of the number of buyouts of contracts, and look at the public stumbles that many districts have made. And they hire these people at pay exceeding $200K a year! It all starts when discontented teachers decide to move into the admin ranks, cast aside any scruples they ever had and embrace an ethic of telling people whatever they want to hear. A few years later they're not just involved in operating one school, no, they have a whole district to manipulate, a board to mislead, and a very fat paycheck.

It is good that you apologized to the real clowns.


VigilantinCV June 18, 2011 @ 8:56 p.m.

Several things are worrisome about this meeting. FIRST, the venue's location is meant to discourage the general public. Chula Vista Middle School is more centrally located. SECOND, there may be cover in the agenda to allow them to take no meaningful action thereby prolonging the three ring circus atmosphere. If John McCann stalls long enough that Gandara vests in a CALPERS pension I believe he will be held accountable.


cvres June 19, 2011 @ 11:16 a.m.

This is unacceptable public deception--to change the location of a meeting one working day before the meeting is to take place--and to move to a school that is not at all centrally located.

I wonder if they'll call the police on attendees again...

What a mistake that Cartmill and Ricasa just got elected again.


joepublic June 19, 2011 @ 11:30 a.m.

Certain members of the board are probably afraid that they might be implicated in the wrongdoings and would therefore rather just make the problem "go away". If Gandara sues, fine. The trial would reveal much more than the public already knows and that's good.


bankalchemist June 24, 2011 @ 12:09 p.m.

Well now you have Batman & Robin aka Ed Brand & Tom Hassey. Brand lost the district $600,000 in 05 when he was determined to have facilitated a wrongful termination against another teacher. He and Hassey are thick as thieves or slick as owl shit which ever you understand best. Brand in the last 3 yrs lost $3.5 million in funds for a new bank forming in San Diego of which Tom Hassey placed him as Chairman of The Board for the group. Leave your wallets at home. bankalchemist.


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