Dear Editor:At the end of a Closed Session on February 23, 2006, the Board of Education initiated “a recruiting process that will ensure transparency to attract the broadest possible pool of qualified candidates to fill the pending vacant position of Superintendent of Schools.” They also appointed Dr. Mike Matthews, Chief of Staff, as interim Superintendent effective February 27. These decisions raise a number of procedural questions:1. Why did the Board of Education decide on a national Superintendent search without first having a public discussion?2. Doesn’t the Open Meeting Law require the Board to discuss publicly the Request for Proposals (RFP) for superintendent search firms before they set the scope and criteria and go out to bid?3. How does the Board know if their constituents have any interest in another “rising young star” coming in, polishing his or her resume, and leaving in five years or less?4. Before spending a considerable amount of time, money, and energy on a national search, isn’t there a process whereby the Board can examine strong local candidates first?5. Wouldn’t it be in everyone’s best interest to promote from within if you have a strong and willing candidate who would not have to be brought “up to speed” on the emotionally charged issues concerning Samohi, Special Education, student safety, and facilities?6. When the management team is constantly changing, maintaining consistency of policy and program becomes problematic. With over 80 administrative changes – including eight different Assistant Superintendents – in the past four years, isn’t the possibility of maintaining some continuity of leadership highly desirable at this time?7. If others have the same or additional questions, what’s the best way to convey them to the Board of Education?Respectfully, Jim JaffeSanta Monica
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