Citing “significant differences … in style, philosophy and vision,” the separation agreement between Carpinteria Unified School District’s Board of Education and departed superintendent Micheline Miglis was released last week. While many details “shall remain confidential,” according to the document, an outspoken critic of the board said Miglis’s departure had nothing to do with performance.
“The single biggest issue was in the tone Ms. Miglis set for collaborating and decision-making,” said Jay Hotchner, a Carpinteria Middle School teacher and president of labor union CAUSE (Carpinteria Association of United School Employees), which has been at an impasse with the district over salary negotiations since April. “Her tone was respectful and diplomatic, and she created a dialogue of empowering people. That was unacceptable to the board.” Longtime boardmember Terry Banks did not return calls and emails for comment. Board president Andy Sheaffer could not be reached before deadline.
Miglis will receive her full salary for one year. Her benefits expire on June 30, 2018, or when she receives benefits through a new employer, whichever comes first.
Looking ahead to the coming board election, with two of five seats up for grabs, “It’s hard to say if there will be a change in the voting bloc,” Hotchner said, “but I would hope to see more transparent conversations [between the board and the community].”
Of three candidates, CAUSE has endorsed Gary Blair and Rogelio Delgado. Blair is a retired Santa Barbara Superior Court executive officer with twin daughters at Carpinteria High School, where he serves on the Measure U facility improvement advisory committee. Blair said one of his focuses would be Title IX compliance for facilities and equipment for female sports. Delgado — who has a Carpinteria High School grad now at Harvard and two more kids in the district — said class sizes are too big, teachers are underpaid, and many families in the district, which is 70 percent Hispanic, don’t know what’s going on. “I can talk with them directly,” he said. Delgado and Blair have also been endorsed by the Santa Barbara Democratic Central Committee.
“I’m sure [Maureen Foley Claffey] would be a competent boardmember,” Hotchner said of the race’s third candidate. “We wish [CAUSE] could have made three endorsements. But there are only two seats.” Endorsed by the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, Claffey is a sixth-generation Carpinteria native. Her mom was a teacher in the district and her father a school board president. Her 4-year-old daughter was enrolled in the district’s transitional kindergarten program before the board abruptly pulled the plug on its expansion earlier this year and then rescinded that decision two months later, “sending many families into chaos,” Claffey said. “The biggest problem with the board is that there hasn’t been enough focus on children and how to help teachers do well. And there’s an impression that they’ve been very cavalier with the public trust.” The election is on November 8.