Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Will Sarvis' Contract be Extended?

Anissa McNeil -- who has been described as having a "breathtaking lack of sensitivity" -- has given her notice as Special Education Director with the Santa Barbara School District. It happened after a contentious board meeting where School Board Trustee Bob Noel and Superintendent Brian Sarvis talked over each other, many parents complained and McNeil presented what Noel called an "infomercial" in her defense. Read all about the meeting from Rob Kuznia's well-written article at Noozhawk.

In the article's comments area -- the comments went generally as follows:

The damage that Anissa McNeil did to this district cannot be overestimated. The damage will not be repaired for years. I’ve been a special ed teacher for over 15 years, and I’ve never seen anyone like her; she was simultaneously imperious and incompetent. She would make proclamations about new programs, then not show up to the meeting where the new program was to be discussed. She would change say one thing to one employee, then another to another, to the point that we could never tell what was a fact and what was a lie. She would intimidate anyone who dared challenge her by approaching the person alone and without witnesses around.

One comment at Noozhawk even mentioned recall of current board members due to what they termed mismanagement by the district. Last night the school board reviewed Sarvis' contract and although running a school district is much more complicated than its special education department -- a high turnover and parent concerns will likely be a key area for improvement should Sarvis' contract be extended. Other issues might include a poor relationship with teaching staff and questions about how district funds are managed. I don't envy the two new board members who will starting soon -- there's a lot of work to do.

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Anonymous editrix said...

Sure wish we had a local paper that carried information, say, like about last night's local (untelevised) School Board meeting so that we who were unable to attend could be well-informed. Guess that's a little too much to ask these days. Did Sarvis get rewarded for the special ed mess with a contract extension? How could that be justified?

11/26/2008 7:01 AM  
Anonymous BRC said...

The meeting was televised - but isn't shown in actual time, but delayed to Saturday at 5. From the school's web site:

The board’s regularly scheduled meetings are on the second, fourth and fifth Tuesday of each month. The regularly scheduled meetings begin at 7:00 p.m., Board Room, Administration Office, Santa Barbara School Districts, 720 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

Regularly scheduled board meetings are taped and are generally broadcast the Saturday following the meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Channel 18. Special board meetings are broadcast on a space-available basis. Check local listings or Channel 18’s website for the date and time of Channel 18’s broadcast of board meetings.

11/26/2008 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Sammy said...

You can watch school board meetings on Saturday evenings on channel 18. Between Kate Smith's public breakdowns and Bob Noel's showboating, it's always entertaining!

11/26/2008 9:48 AM  
Anonymous patrick said...

I hope they don't extend Sarvis' contract. I don't think he is an effective superintendent.

11/26/2008 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Doris Day said...

"Poor relations with the teaching staff" means the teacher unions did not get their way.

Teachers are never happy with the administration. It goes with the territory. Teachers never feel paid enough and appreciated enough. Teachers forget the administration only controls funds the taxpayers want to release to them. Administrators are only conduits for state legislator imposed mandates and legislator controlled budgets.

Stop polarizing the normal situation and get the teachers to concentrate on what they have always promised voters: support what goes on in the class room with their students and not their own inflated ideas of what they think taxpayers owe them.

The education industry is finally meeting taxpayer resistance. It is about time.

11/26/2008 11:16 AM  

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