The Central Unified School District board will interview candidates for superintendent in a special meeting Saturday, despite ongoing parent opposition to the search.
Notice of the meeting was posted on the Central Unified website Wednesday.
Parent Aaren Rodrigues said that a weekend meeting announced in the midst of graduation activities is a further demonstration that the board is not listening to supporters of Mark Sutton, the district’s previous superintendent who was terminated without cause in February.
"Like everything else, it was calculated and deceitful," she said.
Sutton's termination has led to a months-long feud between members of the board and a group of parents who believe the board had a hidden agenda in firing the superintendent, and is now rushing the process to hire a new one. Competing recall notices were filed against three board members in April, while rumors circulated on social media that the president of Central's teachers union would face a recall next. Assistant Superintendent Kelly Porterfield has been serving as interim superintendent.
Rodrigues said only Trustee Terry Cox showed up to community input meetings to discuss a new superintendent.
"It's a waste of time to attend," Rodrigues said of Saturday's meeting. "They don't listen and have no intention of taking anything the community says into consideration."
Rodrigues said she believes the board will pick a candidate Saturday as soon as they finish interviews.
Board president Cesar Granda said the board will not hire a new superintendent Saturday. Candidates with experience in finance and cabinet-level leadership are a priority, but the board is not necessarily seeking someone with previous superintendent experience, according to Granda.
Granda said he understands that parents are angry at the board's decision to terminate Sutton, but hinted that the reasons for it came out in the board's closed session.
“It’s frustrating that we can’t comment on things that happen in closed session, but it’s to protect the employee’s privacy,” he said. “Lots of things happened in closed session.”
Sutton said in April he was never given a reason for his termination. At a board meeting following his ouster, a parent questioned whether the board's reasons were racially motivated.
Granda said the board was looking for a different superintendent.
"The majority of the board got together and decided to go a different direction," Granda said.
Parents have also filed a complaint against the board alleging a Brown Act violation, saying that the decision to fire Sutton was made without public input through a series of behind-the-scenes meetings.
Granda said he expects the board will hire a new superintendent before the start of the next school year, possibly on July 10.
Saturday's meeting will be held on the Central Unified West Campus beginning at 8 a.m., and the public is invited to comment before the board's closed session.