The Inside Scoop
SEPTEMBER 21-27, 2018
A week after the publication of a column detailing what is, in my opinion, the San Benito School District’s retaliatory measures for what the superintendent Dr. Nate Carman later described as reckless reporting, the News, and specifically this publisher, has fielded a number of correspondences and engaged in a variety of conversations which have served to only foster more questions than answers regarding a number of the district dealings and practices which we hope to unpack in the coming weeks.
Of course I’d be remised if I didn’t mention that this week, the superintendent issued a statement which essentially states — without really stating — that our coverage didn’t play a large part in his decision to cut advertising ties with the paper, further insinuating that the district opted to publicize its “news” in newsletter which may or may not be mailed to district taxpayers on a quarterly basis. What is not mentioned is that the district has chosen to not only take our tax dollars out of town to produce this newsletter but out of the county, despite having a marketing team on the district’s payroll and the capacity to produce this newsletter within the school district, potentially saving the district taxpayers thousands of dollars, but that’s a topic for another occasion.
As our readers can imagine, calls and messages came from people both associated with the district and not associated with the district and from various current and past district employees working in various capacities and departments within the district, many of whom had similar concerns and experiences. I’m making it a point to address each personally and as thoughtfully as possible. But most of all, we’re looking for patterns and similarities in the experiences and concerns these readers are sharing.
As a reminder, last week’s column detailed a series of events which resulted in the San Benito CISD Superintendent of Schools all but blackballing this publication. In reality, the situation in question was, at worst, a case of miscommunication involving the reporter of the story who was attempting to ascertain comment regarding documents contained in a package addressed to the CEO of Southwest Key, a program contracted by the Federal Government to house migrant children separated from their companioning adult or adults upon apprehension at the border (see last week’s edition of the News).
Last week’s column also addressed an investigation into a top ranking administrator and the district’s reluctancy to address even the most basics of facts surrounding the aforementioned investigation.
It is through a conversation with trustee Victor Rosas who stopped by our office Thursday morning of last week that we can at least confirm that there is indeed an investigation into an administrator but Rosas was visibly uncomfortable discussing further details, explaining that the board defers administrative issues to the superintendent. Trustee Rosas added that he would look into the concerns addressed in last week’s column. Board President Michael Vargas replied to various requests for an interview late Thursday of last week saying that believed the issues regarding the initial story pertaining to the letter published in last week’s edition had been addressed by the superintendent and the district’s attorney. Trustee Janie Silva said she was troubled but previously unaware of these issues and would discuss them with the superintendent.
Still, armed with the knowledge that there is indeed an investigation into this unnamed administrator, the News, within the next few days, will be issuing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests asking for the release of documents pertaining to the subject of the investigation.
Before I conclude, I’d like to acknowledge the effort of the City, especially the City’s Public Works Department which put forth an admirable effort ahead of last week’s flood threat, highlighted by an organized, orderly and efficient distribution of sandbags to citizens and businesses at the city shop.