Sweetwater Interim Superintendent Ed Brand to Get Contract?

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**. * “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.” * [] *“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.”* [] More info: [] [] [1]: [2]: [3]: [4]:
— September 3, 2012 6:50 p.m.

Sweetwater Union High School District Borrowing on Bond Funds?

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. ( 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.
— June 12, 2012 11:26 a.m.

Sweetwater Union High School Board Prompted for Report on Scott Alevy's Work

The Vega Report has been submitted. The District has refused to provide me with a copy. They are also refusing to provide the DA with a copy unless if they are subpoenaed to do so. If Jim, Arlie, and John, cannot be transparent, perhaps it’s time for them to step down. What is the Vega Report? In the last round of negotiations, the District hired two PR firms to assist them with bargaining. The use of these firms was not publicly approved at a school board meeting. Instead, the District’s former chief legal counsel was given the authority to hire these consulting firms to help them to gather information on SEA and to spin a tale that would help them to meet their bargaining objectives. The invoices submitted by one of the firms, Alevy Communications, became public knowledge and contributed to the downfall of our former superintendent. The bills indicate that Alevy Communications went beyond assisting the District in negotiations. The invoices indicated that the District paid Alevy Communications for assisting the former superintendent to write editorials to help with his family’s troubles in Texas. More shocking was the fact that the bills indicate that the District participated in determining the results of the last school board race. According to the bills, Alevy Communications charged our District for meeting with school board candidate John McCann during his campaign. The District paid for Alevy Communications to have discussions with “Key Influencers” and to meet with a “Key Group” regarding the election. Alevy Communications was also paid to monitor the election on election night and to produce reports. Jesus Gandara is gone. Good riddance. However, the bigger story of the District’s involvement in the last election has been swept under the rug. If the Alevy Invoices are accurate, the District meddled in the last election and Jim, Arlie, and John should resign immediately so that we can move forward. The District decided to audit the invoices. At the cost of fifteen thousand dollars, they hired former U.S. Attorney Greg Vega to perform the audit. The report has been submitted. I would like to see it and share it with the SEA membership. It should be an interesting read. However, keep in mind that the person that the District hired to perform the audit, is the same person “who brokered the contract between the general counsel and the Sweetwater Union High School District” according to the following UT article: The invoices were processed by the Finance Department. Instead of disciplining the former head of this department for either the lack of oversight or worse, why has she been rewarded with a consulting position with our District? In some cases, unfortunately, not doing the right thing does pay. District: What are you trying to hide? How about a little transparency?
— November 17, 2011 10:11 p.m.