San Diego Soliloquies

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

The Grossmont Union High School District succeeded this week in forcing out its superviser of education on March 27th, and appointing a new one March 29th. The old superintendent, Granger Ward, took office after the district ran through five superintendents between June 1996 and December 1998.

Ward won plaudits in his handling of shootings at Santana High and Granite Hills High in March 2000, but, well, let the San Diego Union, no liberal paper, tell the story:

Board President Jim Kelly declines to define the "philosophical differences" that spurred Ward's dismissal. Clearly, Kelly and his cohorts were unhappy with the superintendent's support of giving protection to gay students and students perceived to be gay – a policy that has since become state law. They were offended by a video promoting tolerance that was shown at two high schools. Their disdain for "social engineering" extended to worthwhile efforts like Camp Minitown, which promotes cultural diversity. And they bristled when Ward urged that the district seek a 55 percent majority to pass the district's bond issue.

In November three candidates espousing an explicitly "Family Values" agenda won election, joining a fourth already on the board. In December, the board had the first of its closed door monthly meetings with Superintendent Ward.

The District, which is facing a $5 million deficit, will pay Ward nine months severance. Ward, who was the first African-American to hold the post, came from New York where he was in charge of 38 schools with 49,000 students. The Grossmont District has 12 high schools, around 25,000 students, and a super-majority of knuckle-draggers on its board.

Keep on eye on this. After getting tossed out off the Vista School Board, the local "Family Values"-types have been looking for a way back in. Vista was not the right place for it, too many professionals, not enough super churches. The GUSHD area is much better. We'll delve into the reasons why in a post real soon.

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San Diego Soliloquies