The Sept. 1 Eagle letter “Eyes Opened” belied belief. It sounded outlandish, so I checked the video. I’m no expert on staffing or school budgets, but it doesn’t take a corruption sleuth to see appearances of a “secret handshake” deal with an employee the district seems to have lost confidence in. If Principal Schmeichel had “given notice” to resign his position, it would indicate he had other plans. That is not so. Bravo to Trustee Valdes-Clayton for inquiring into details of a what looks to be a back-room sweetheart deal, “just bow out quietly, we’ll buy you a year to find another gig.” Is there another plausible reason for leaving a secure leadership position for a “created out of ether” one year job advertised at a lower salary? Why, after a miniscule two-week application/interview process (In person? By Zoom?), would a budget-savvy employer abruptly decide to pay that person significantly more to fill the position than the salary that was briefed to trustees? The Superintendent’s unlucky mouthpiece, the HR director, claimed it was the extraordinary qualifications of Mr. Schmeichel; a principal who was either covertly dismissed or, if not, jammed the district with a short-notice resignation. And who has replaced the departed, exceptionally qualified, CHS former principal? A Coronado Unified employee; best to keep things in the family.
Kudos are also due Trustee Keszei for exposing a 10K “Consent Docket, nothing to see here” Superintendent request for a speaker to motivate CUSD’s apparently enthusiasm challenged staff. Compared to CUSD’s budget largesse to fund new and temporary staff positions and pay them handsomely, a paltry Ten Grand is chump change! What seems odd is I seem to remember the uproar over relocating the kindergarten in 2019 amidst Superintendent claims of looming insolvency. If memory serves that property was mortgaged to borrow $12M to close a budget deficit. Perhaps the new CUSD Public Information Officer (another NEW position filled by a former Trustee who was the ONLY applicant) can shed some light on these seemingly mystifying financial decisions. Don’t get your hopes up. As with other family enterprises, I suspect taxpayers will soon discover, like parents, the board and the district do not consider it good manners to ask too many questions. “It’s not personal, Sonny, it’s strictly business.”