The Fresno Teachers Association is questioning why Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson’s annual performance evaluation is being expedited. Hanson’s evaluation is listed on the school board meeting agenda for next week but typically isn’t addressed until November or later.
His evaluation comes amid a federal investigation of the district’s handling of public bond money and no-bid construction contracts, leaving critics wondering if it has been bumped up to help him secure a new job elsewhere. Others speculate he is aiming to receive a positive review before the investigation’s outcome.
“We just found out that Board President Luis Chavez has placed superintendent Hanson’s evaluation on the agenda for next week,” the FTA wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “Normally the superintendent evaluation occurs in November each year. WHY is Luis Chavez moving Hanson's evaluation up?
“FTA has asked that it be removed from the agenda and are opposed to any positive evaluation of superintendent Hanson, as he is under federal criminal investigation.”
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FTA also took to Twitter to raise questions about the evaluation process, saying, “FUSD’s Hanson is trying to get his evaluation done months early before the FBI completes its criminal investigation.”
I get what (FTA’s) saying, but I have a responsibility to every single employee in the district, Mike included.
Fresno Unified school board President Luis Chavez on FTA’s claims
Chavez, who is leaving the school board to run for Fresno City Council, confirmed that Hanson asked for an earlier evaluation but said he did not say why.
“Every single employee in Fresno Unified has a right to due process. I have to honor that,” Chavez said Friday. “I’m sure that the teacher’s association would not want me trampling on a teacher’s right to due process. I get what they’re saying, but I have a responsibility to every single employee in the district, Mike included.”
At next week’s meeting, the board will hear Hanson’s self-evaluation in closed session, but it is not expected to vote on his performance until later this month or in early October, Chavez said.
Hanson’s last evaluation came in December, in which the board gave him a positive review in a 5-2 vote. That vote extended Hanson’s contract by a year, securing him the position through June 2020, and did not include a raise. Then, trustees Brooke Ashjian and Carol Mills were the lone “no” votes, and they have been critical of Hanson’s leadership since the district was served with a grand jury subpoena in September 2015.
Thank you to the board for the evaluation and your confidence.
Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson after his 2015 evaluation
Fresno Unified spokesman Miguel Arias pointed to an earlier release of state test scores as part of the reason Hanson’s evaluation is coming early this year.
“Unlike most districts, which conduct superintendent evaluations during the summer months, our board has purposefully evaluated Superintendent Hanson annually every fall during the school year. This timing ensures his evaluation includes the total variety of indicators we track, including student achievement results,” Arias said in a statement.
Arias also said the FTA’s allegations are tied to the organization’s ongoing negotiations with the district.
“Unfortunately, FTA’s baseless claim is typical given we have begun negotiations in which they requested to open 20 articles of the contract,” Arias said.
If you go
Fresno Unified school board
When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14
Where: 2309 Tulare St., downtown Fresno
What: Evaluation of Superintendent Michael Hanson