Santa Barbara School Board Responds to Teacher Concerns, Promise Change
Board Promises Include Exit Interviews Conducted by Outside Entity, No New Initiatives
The Santa Barbara Unified District School Board has made promises to resolve some of the concerns brought up by teachers, after dozens of teachers protested outside of the district office on May 24 and three school sites sent letters expressing their lack of confidence in the board and Superintendent Hilda Maldonado.
Letters sent from faculty members from Santa Barbara High School, Goleta Valley Junior High, and Dos Pueblos High School detailed a lack of confidence in the board and superintendent, including a breakdown in communication largely created by the rapid succession of district administrators leaving their positions.
Since Maldonado began serving as superintendent, the letters stated, at least a dozen district employees and administrators have resigned, including many who served as critical liaisons between the district and its schools. The letter also included claims that the district had misappropriated funds to pay for administrative positions, and that exit interviews were not being conducted with outgoing employees.
The board held a special meeting on May 31 to discuss these concerns and possible solutions with Maldonado, and resolved to send a letter directly to district faculty and staff, including a list of commitments and changes meant to address the concerns of teachers. Some of the commitments include having an outside entity conduct exit interviews to be presented later to the board and superintendent; not creating new administrative positions or implementing new district initiatives; and coming up with a “comprehensive” plan to address student behavioral issues.
The letter also included a list of promises each individual boardmember plans to honor for the 2022-23 school year, such as:
- Committing to visiting every school at least once during the year
- Participating with the Santa Barbara Teachers Association representatives on a fall listening tour to every school
- Regularly including superintendent evaluations as part of closed-session board meetings
- Conducting a board survey of all staff twice a year to access progress
- Scheduling a board study session, open to all members of the community, to learn about school funding, expenses, and long-term planning
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