Skelly signals retreat on $150K PR officer for PAUSD
Original post made by Curious on May 12, 2013
Just two weeks ago, Skelly told the board that the PR posting had attracted several strong candidates. He indicated that two Board of Education trustees would be involved in the final round of interviews and selections. See Web Link.
Skelly said that the district might be able to find a communications director sometime in "the future." The existing notice for the position expires on May 31.
Skelly's statement followed by three days a closed session with the Board of Education to consider his performance. Skelly is scheduled to have another day-long, seven-hour performance review on June 19.
The school board voted to hire a PR officer in the immediate aftermath of the news in January that Superintendent Skelly failed to notify the school board that he had signed a settlement agreement with the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. The agreement came after OCR found that the district violated the civil rights of a disabled child.
According to the posting, the PR officer was to "promote a community climate of support for the district" and "cultivate" stories in media that portray the district in a positive light."
The school board's decision to hire a PR officer was met with strong public criticism. Former Paly principal Sandra Pearson wrote in a public letter to the school board that she was "puzzled and dismayed" by the board's decision and invited board members to seek input from teachers on more appropriate uses of $150,000. See Web Link.
The Weekly reported that former school board candidate Ken Dauber told the school board that "The district doesn't have a PR problem, you have a reality problem," and suggested that the $150,000 be devoted to a wellness center at Gunn recommended by a teacher-parent committee. See Web Link.
The Weekly also editorialized against the PR officer, and many community members have criticized the board's decision in online postings and at school board meetings.
on May 12, 2013 at 11:52 pm
Curios - Thank you for your on-going follow up and reminders! Some argued that some or all the issues you address are water under the bridge. Seems to me that many keep their initial take about anything. Some do not want to be "confused by the facts". Some are hoping that the issues you mention are just margins, do not reflect anything else. Some think those issues are just the tip of the iceberg. I happen to be reminded of Pandora boxes.
There were many suggestions by those who agreed with the great editorial about systemic issues, as to the way to address these issues. Impartial investigation was mentioned many times. It was clear to me quite a while ago that it was not about to happen, fast. That was the reason that had me address Ken Dauber calling to form Shadow Board. An unusual suggestion, I agree. Understatement. I could not think of any other way to start and collect information ASAP. Recent threads indicate possible trust Mr. Dauber gained. Shadow (anything) is, by definition, formed by the opposition. I thought that a clear ongoing statement was called for, until hopefully some type of formal commission will be formed. A symbolic statement and action. I thought that even if by the end of day no formal commission or other legal action will be take place, no loss here - info being collected by a trusted community member. There may be other ways out there. I was very surprised to see the number of views my open address had prior to my recent reminders about it. link to my open address: Web Link
on May 13, 2013 at 2:42 am
Dear Ms. or Mr. Curious:
I am also curious about why our Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Skelly, seems to be constitutionally incapable of being honest with himself or with residents of Palo Alto whom he is supposed to be serving.
I am curious as to why every time the option for him to remove himself from his position (namely resign) is mentioned in these comments the comment has been removed by the editor. It seems like it would be the easier softer way for Dr. Skelly to get on with his life and for our district to move on in a more positive direction. Unfortunately, It is appearing more evident that PAUSD must rid itself of its highest ranking official. He has not been serving anyone except himself (at a huge salary of 278K I might add). He had his contract extended last year at that huge compensation level without telling the Board or anyone else (if you believe that Camille Townsend didn't know which some people have intimated in these comments she may have known) about the Letter of Finding from the OCR. This would be grounds for immediate termination in the world outside of PAUSD. Please, dear editor, leave the resignation suggestion intact. We cannot afford to have Dr. Skelly bring our district down deeper in the mud nor can we afford to pay out the cash settlements that seem inevitable if these OCR violations continue to pile up. This is quite enough. Enough is plenty as my Grandpa used to say when I was a child.
And what to about the board? It seems like there will come a time very soon when the board will implode or sink into a mass of jelly on the floor because of their spinelessness. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] It is true that some residents say that there is nothing wrong with PAUSD and that, in fact, it used to be considerably worse "pre-Skelly". I did not live in the district pre-Skelly but it is hard to believe that it could have been much worse.
To all reading this comment: Please come to the presentation this Thursday evening at the Ohlone School from 6-8 where representatives from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will answer all of your questions. I hope that Dr. Skelly and the school board will attend and particularly Camille Townsend who says she wants more "clarity" on what bullying is. Camille, this is a perfect opportunity to get all the answers you need to do your job. I hope you can make it!
@not curious: this would be your perfect opportunity as well to verify once and for all your point of law referenced in an earlier and related thread.
on May 13, 2013 at 8:08 am
I am relieved to at least learn that Kevin Skelly is having performance reviews by the board. Actually, since the board has protected him so much throughout all of these scandals that he has caused, the board is probably the least qualified to give him a review.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]