In the city of Hayward, California, there was a school superintendent that the community’s civic and business leaders – as well as parents and school teachers and administrators – admired and respected for his work in ameliorating the quality of instruction and the academic achievements of the students.
And in the same city of Hayward, California, there is a school district board of trustees that people say couldn’t resist meddling with the school superintendent’s work and placing roadblocks along his way. The school board’s meetings have been characterized as disorganized and contentious, thus the label “dysfunctional.”
The school superintendent in this story is Stan ‘Data’ Dobbs – the fourth school superintendent that the Hayward Unified School District’s (HUSD) board of trustees has hired and fired since 2010, a span of a little over five years. Four school superintendents in five years must be a record of some sort.
Dobbs was terminated by the HUSD board of trustees during its raucous meeting held Wednesday night, September 14. The action took place in spite of a unanimous outcry and demand for his retention by Hayward parents, teachers, school administrators, and civic and business leaders. The board’s action was condemned as being in utter disregard of the people’s wishes.
Dobbs was first placed on paid administrative leave by the board last June 29. Hayward’s community rallied behind Dobbs, gathering hundreds of signatures for a petition to drop all trumped-up charges and lift the suspension. The petitioners claimed that the accusations against Dobbs were whimsical.
On July 23, Dobbs filed a claim against the school district, alleging that the school board and its president, Lisa Brunner, violated his “statutory rights to privacy” and made “defamatory statements” against him during the board’s July 13 meeting where Dobbs was publicly accused of entering into contracts without the board’s approval and of “receiving gifts.” The claim seeks unspecified damages. If the claim is denied, Dobbs is expected to sue the school district.
Meanwhile, the citizens of Hayward have organized CLASS (Civic Leaders Advocating Student Success) and CLASS action is taking place in the city of Hayward. CLASS is a political action committee (PAC) that is campaigning to elect three new board members on November 8. If the CLASS action succeeds, the three new board members will constitute a majority on the 5-member school board – and the city of Hayward can get back on the road to providing the best in education to its students.