A Special Board meeting to discuss the Reconstitution of West Valley was held on September 15, 2015 at Nimitz Elementary School in Sunnyvale, CA. The agenda included two items in addition to public comments. The meeting was well attended by parents, teachers, and community members across Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) with standing-room only. Video of the meeting will soon be available.
- Review of Board Policy 4113. This policy was cited as the legal authority for Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz to transfer all teachers and staff from West Valley Elementary.
- Adoption of Resolution #15-16-06. This was the Board Resolution retroactively approving the transfers at West Valley.
- The Superintendent set the tone for the meeting when she oddly opened by accusing a group of parents who have challenged the decision to reconstitute West Valley of being “bullies.”
- Most speakers expressed anger, frustration, shock, sadness, and confusion over the Board’s decision. Some speakers called for the reconstitution of the Board and removal of the Superintendent. A few spoke in favor of the decision.
- Board Members listened, looked away, ignored, and addressed the questions they wanted to. Despite lengthy comments from Board Members at the end of the meeting, they provided no new information.
- Board Members brought in an attorney who said that BP 4113 uses common language and is widely adopted by school boards across the state. There was no action on this agenda item.
- Board Members voted 5-0 to adopt Board Resolution #15-16-06.
Top 5 Takeaways for The Real West Valley Story
- The Superintendent and Board Members repeatedly said their intent was for West Valley teachers to reapply for their positions. It was the teachers union (CEA) who asked them to reassign everyone, and the Board agreed. As Board Member Jo Lucey explained, their expectation was that some teachers would move on; others would want to come back and commit to change; and still others would want to come back, but not be allowed.
- What the Board didn’t say was how many teachers were in the third group. Evidence suggests the Superintendent wanted to transfer 20 of 24 teachers.
- What the Board didn’t say was the District had no fair and objective way of selecting those who would remain at West Valley. Evidence suggests that it was the Superintendent’s deceptive intent that motivated the CEA to ask for language in the MOU which stated all teachers would be transferred. [P.Vogel / CEA Email, 6/18/2015]
- The Board did not answer questions related to reported interventions that took place to help ease “tensions” at West Valley. They did not refute countless speakers who said there was no evidence of any mediation, intervention, or attempt to solve whatever problems the Superintendent claimed existed at West Valley.
- The Superintendent and Board Members repeatedly said the reason that Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) is involved with schools in the District is because principals are requesting their services. Principals are asking to be certified by HSD; and in the case of West Valley, the Principal has asked that HSD help facilitate the “reinvention” of the school.
- Board Members repeatedly said that what happened at West Valley (e.g. the Reconstitution) would not happen at other schools within the District.
- What the Board didn’t say was how they could prevent a recurrence.
- The Board’s statement makes no sense. The Board says the Superintendent has the full authority to transfer personnel within the District under BP 4113. And they said they have no intention of modifying that policy to limit the Superintendent’s authority. Then how can the Board assure that it will not happen again?
- As the policy stands, the Superintendent can act on her own in reconstituting any CUSD school.
- Board Members and the Superintendent said they did not visit Poway School District to explore how to open a new school. It was District personnel who accompanied the Easton Principal to Poway to learn how to implement a new technology solution. This section of The Real West Valley Story has been removed.