Breakdown: The Failure of Administration at SUSD

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Breakdown: The Failure of Administration at SUSD
STOCKTON- Bussing and schools go hand in hand. It’s a necessity as fundamental as school lunch. Yet at the largest school district in San Joaquin County, one of the largest in California, it’s broken. Stockton Unified School District, as has become the new norm, simply cannot get it right. As we looked more into what is happening at SUSD we discovered that one of its most fundamental functions, Transportation, is broken. There is a breakdown, not in mechanical terms, but in Human Resources.

The root of the decay appears to be rooted in both the failed leadership of SUSD leadership as well as the employees who have held the Transportation Department hostage with selfish behaviour and political interference and alliances with elected representatives on the board of trustees. Nothing has been more evident of this than the embarrassing and concerning turnover rate in Director for the transportation department in just the last few years.

According to our research, the SUSD Transportation Department has had 7 Directors in the last 3 years. Nate Knott, who made a career working for the city and county’s public buses, was the latest to resign in protest as a direct result of the hostile environment SUSD leadership and their CSEA employee union goons have created and continues to hold back the department, the district, and the community.  

Some employees would even serve as political operatives of trustees, attacking fellow employees and anyone who challenged political allies they were loyal to with a social media page called “SUSD Wolfpack”. The page would be wrought with rumors, personal attacks, and slander to bully and intimidate employees and administrators they did not like. The employees rumored to be behind the page are from the Transportation Department along with a Spanish language translator.

Then the district hired Benard Veasley. This is probably the best hire the district has done in a long time. Veasley showed himself a capable administrator. Many would say Veasley was the best the District has had in many years. He was a professional, treated everyone the same, and knew transportation in and out. Buses were on time, morale was up, all because there was a capable leader in the driver’s seat. Veasley was a prime example of a competent administrator whose ability to direct his department would also be undermined and interfered with by a combination of elected trustees and their co-conspirator employees working in the Transportation Department. As a result of the constant undermining and the external political interference, Veasley would also resign.

In an amazing display of incompetence and broken leadership, SUSD Board of Trustees would have Human Resources send Veasley a Notice of Disciplinary Action- Termination threatening him to come back to work even though he had already resigned cleaned out his desk and went home weeks prior. To top that off, elected trustees and their co-conspirator employees used their 2 minutes during a Board Meeting to lies about him even though he had been gone weeks.

After Veasley resigned, the situation at SUSD got so bad that hundreds of children were left stranded when their school buses didn’t show up early in the morning to take them to school. Once the buses did arrive and get the students to school it was already lunch time. No notifications were sent out to parents despite the fact their children were left waiting unsupervised at the bus stops all morning, some in dangerous areas of the city. This would have never happened while Veasley was there.
Even worse, when it was revealed that the buses were inexplicably delayed, no explanation was given by the school district. According to several sources, and Nate Knott’s resignation letter, those delays appear to have been caused by the direct interference of disgraced former board president Angelann Flores and her partner in crime Kennetha Stevens who is the current board president.

Apparently, they thought it appropriate to interfere with SUSD staff, hosting “listening sessions”, which were unannounced and took over the transportation department, leaving bus routes unfulfilled and students stranded. When SUSD administrators tried to do their job, they were intimidated with the implication that their jobs would be at risk as Flores and Stevens along with their conspiring trustees Sofia Colon and Donald Donair controlled the Superintendent through a 4-member board majority that could fire her at anytime. This power was flaunted. And of course, abused.

These are just a few examples of the broken system that is SUSD. The problems are both top down and bottom up. Until competent superintendents and administrators are hired and elected trustees are not allowed to interfere in the administration of the school district, for which they have no authority, training, or right to do, SUSD will continue to be a model for failure and produce like results. Perhaps it is time for the State to takeover the school district.

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