The Stockton Unified School District governing board has changed up its meeting schedule for this week. Trustees will meet Monday afternoon instead of Tuesday.
Melina Meza, SUSD spokesperson, said that the day change is a one-off and the public can expect the board to go back to its regularly-scheduled day of the week for future meetings. Though, the governing board meetings now also start an hour earlier, a permanent change that went into effect earlier this month.
Trustees will discuss and vote on myriad issues at Monday’s meeting, which starts at 4 p.m., including the final approval of the district’s response to the county regarding a state investigation that found evidence of fraud within Stockton Unified and establishing search criteria for its district superintendent search.
Response sent to the county regarding state audit
San Joaquin County Office of Education officials told the district last month that Stockton Unified leadership disregarded the law and ignored its own policies when making financial decisions.
Troy Brown, San Joaquin County superintendent of schools, expressed disappointment at “deeply troubling” issues raised by a state audit investigation that concluded earlier this year that found evidence of fraud.
The audit, known formerly as an “Assembly Bill (AB) 139 Extraordinary Audit,” began in February 2022 at Brown’s request and was conducted by California’s Financial Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT).
Other findings include possible Brown Act violations by the district’s Board of Education, that trustees and the superintendent on occasions did not follow board policies and the law, apparent conflicts of interest and abuse of power.
In response to the findings, the county gave Stockton Unified a list of five recommendations to fix and deal with issues found by state investigators. The district, per state law, must respond within 15 days with a proposed action plan to implement the county’s recommendations.
Trustees and interim SUSD Superintendent Traci Miller were presented with the findings Feb. 14. The letter, which is addressed to Brown and dated March 1, is up for final approval by the board.
On the hunt for new superintendent
Stockton Unified has been without a permanent superintendent since last summer, when John Ramirez Jr. resigned his post in June a little more than a year into his three-year contract.
McPherson & Jacobson, the firm hired by the district last month to find its new, permanent superintendent, will present a draft of the criteria it will use in identifying candidates for Stockton Unified’s top leadership position.
The criteria includes: strong listening and communication skills; values and actively works to build trusting relationships; demonstrate high levels of cultural competency; prioritizes and actively works to build strong family and community partnerships; demonstrates fiscal and budget management skills; be a visionary innovative leader; and demonstrate high levels of integrity and moral values.
Stockton Unified has been accused of having a “revolving door” of superintendents. The district has had about 15 interim and permanent superintendents in the last 30 years.
According to a presentation given to the board last month, McPherson & Jacobson said that the average retention rate of the superintendents hired through searches the firm has conducted is between 3.2 and 4.6 years, with 85% of those hired in the last five years still the job. Going further out, the firm says that 60% of those hired in the last 10 years are still in their current districts and that number goes to 45% to those hired in the past 15 years.
Stockton Unified now streams its governing board meetings live. The public can watch Monday’s meeting starting at 4 p.m. on SUSD’s YouTube channel. The meetings can be watched in either Spanish (here) or English (here).