An overwhelming 96% of Pasadena Unified School District teachers approved a vote of “No Confidence” in Pasadena Unified School District Chief Human Resources Officer Kathleen Sanchez and allege she is incompetent, a teachers’ representative announced at Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting.
United Teachers of Pasadena (UTP) President Alvin Nash reported to the Board during the labor union comment section of the meeting that “the vote comes in reaction to a long history of Sanchez’s failure to fulfill many responsibilities of her position.
Reading from a prepared statement, Nash said Sanchez routinely does not provide “documents in a timely manner requested by UTP and following through on numerous concerns brought to her by individual members and by UTP.”
“Sanchez has failed to demonstrate the essential competence someone in her position should possess in a highly functioning school district,” said Nash. “This vote is an expression of the frustration our members are feeling over her failure to resolve basic contract grievances, and in what should be of great concern to this community, having no effective plan to recruit and retain quality teachers to fill vacancies created by retirements, leaves, and resignations. UTP Members feel like important issues are languishing in a bureaucratic black hole, causing an all-time low in staff morale.
“Of particular concern is the number of teachers placed on Medical Leave without their request or consent,” Nash continued.
Nash also noted that “UTP would prefer that Kathleen Sanchez improves immediately and remarkably. If she does, we shall be among the first to welcome a new era of professionalism and excellence in the District’s Human Resources Department.
“If Ms. Sanchez does not improve immediately and remarkably,” Nash added, “then she will become a liability that the Pasadena school community cannot afford. In that worst-case scenario, United Teachers of Pasadena shall commit its organizational resources to advocating for her departure,” Nash concluded.
The Union’s ire was provoked in particular because the Board was considering Sanchez’s employment contract, along with the contracts of PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald, Associate Superintendent for School Support Services Mercy Santoro, Chief Academic Officer Shawn Bird, Chief Business Officer Bernadette Riggs and Chief of Facilities Nelson Cayabyab.
The new contracts include a six percent increase in the salaries of each of these officers to reflect increases that have been given to management employees represented by the Association of Pasadena School Administrators (APSA) over the last six months, but have not been extended to the senior administrators because of their existing contracts, most of which end on June 30, 2017.
For McDonald, the new contract will give him an annual salary of $265,000, a term extension of up to June 30, 2020, and an increase in District annual Tax Sheltered Annuity contribution from $15,000 to $25,000. The contract also carries a new provision that gives him the privilege to apply, at his discretion, for a district loan of up to $150,000 for the purchase of a residence within the district.
During the consent calendar portion of the meeting, the salary adjustments and contract extensions for all six academic officers were approved.