Changing horses midstream is usually not a good idea, particularly when the waters are rough. The Hesperia Unified School District is facing huge challenges, and will be for quite some time. We are faced with economic realities that force decisions and actions I personally do not like, but that are required to get the district through these difficult times. But while we need desperately to change the composition of our governing board, the leadership found in our administration needs some firm consistency.
Setting the direction for the district is one of the priorities for its governing board, who are supposed to do it by establishing policies that provide the specifics for the overall strategic success plan for the district. I believe that anyone who is happy with the current direction of our district, that is being forced by the board majority, is simply not paying attention.
I sit on the board and have no earthly idea of where Kirk, Black, and Riley are directing the district because they never clearly state it, in public that is. I do hear them say and do very different things dependent upon whether they are in public or not and that is very frightening for this district.
But I can easily infer their real purposes when I see the policies they put forth when they seek to: (1) limit public participation in the decision-making process, (2) hold everybody else accountable for standards without providing the tools and resources needed to obtain success in these areas, and (3) ignore the policies that they themselves have written but now dislike.
Kirk, Black, and Riley obviously do not respect the people they work for---the students and the people of this community. Kirk, Black, and Riley obviously do not respect the people who do the work of this district---the teachers, the classified staff, and the administrators, including the very top of the administrative chain.
Kirk, Black, and Riley are currently and actively cultivating an adversarial relationship between the board majority and the HUSD cabinet. They seek to either change horses in midstream or simply force the horses into unwilling submission through contract language written by them and endorsed by their personal lawyer, Dennis Wagner.
Our cabinet is supposed to be comprised of our superintendent, our assistant superintendent of business services, our assistant superintendent of educational services, and our assistant superintendent of personnel. Four experienced people---the captain, the head businessperson, the head curricular person, and the head people person, since 90% of what we do is people-based--- providing the specifics of the strategic plans established by the board.
Kirk, Black, and Riley dismissed the assistant superintendent of personnel, although this person is still being paid for the job, and did nothing for many, many months to put someone in charge of the largest department we maintain.
And their temporary fix for the personnel hole that Kirk, Black, and Riley dug has done nothing more than dig the hole even deeper at the cost of $1200.00 per day. So our cabinet is now three, a number that has led some folks to now call it a cupboard. But even this cupboard is nowhere near bare.
Mark McKinney, Jovy Yankaskas, and David McLaughlin have a combined sixty-five (65) years of experience in this school district. And when you count the full cabinet that was originally chosen by Kirk and Black, the full cabinet experience level in this school district is well over eighty (80) years.
Their future employment security should not be based solely upon the completion of four highly questionable and somewhat illegal pet projects put forth by the Kirk, Black, and Riley cabal, and contractually endorsed by their lawyer, Dennis Wagner. This is bad practice and in direct violation of the HUSD board policies in existence. But this is how this cabal operates.
Changing horses midstream is a bad idea in these dangerous waters. Forcing horses into submission and absolute compliance---particularly when you cannot even describe what compliance even is---on four costly and dubious pet projects put forth by the cabal is also a very bad idea.
Lessening public input and public information is also a very bad idea for the less people know about what is really going on, the easier it is to wield power and authority. And the Kirk, Black, and Riley cabal is all about wielding power and authority.