The Santa Clara County Office of Education is a disaster. But is it FUBAR?
According to a recent county Board of Education trustee, yes, the situation is completely FUBAR.
We've seen dysfunction in the past from the SCCOE, but Superintendent Jon Gundry's one year on the job has been especially prolific. In addition to leading the bumbling response to the Walden West child abuse scandal, and consequently going into damage control with an outsourced communications consultant, Gundry has also been responsible for the secret giveaway of taxpayer funds through consulting contracts—with no paperwork to show for it.
Based on interviews and internal emails, he did this because: (1.) He didn't trust his staff to get the job done; and (2.) He doesn't possess the financial acumen to get the job done.
Meanwhile, Gundry's communications director, Ken Blackstone, diligently helped the superintendent conceal documents by ignoring internal pleas to comply with Public Records Act requests. (He's got a history of doing this kind of thing.) It's not known if Blackstone and Gundry failed to provide records beyond the timeline required by law because of: (1.) paralysis by analysis; or (2.) they were simply trying to prevent a paper trail.
San Jose Inside has more to come on the cloaked use of taxpayer funds, as well as the recent turnover in staff within the SCCOE. For now, we wanted to pass along a message former county Board of Education trustee Craig Mann sent late last week to SCCOE staff, trustees, media outlets and District Attorney Jeff Rosen, whose office has been looking into the shady dealings under Gundry's watch.
Mann resigned from the Board in 2012 and now serves on the Evergreen Community College board. Below is his letter:
I hope this note finds you & yours well. I am reaching out to you in my capacity as a constituent, a former board member and standing elected official of parts of Santa Clara County. Without much ado, let me say that I am appalled at the flood of negative news about, regarding the SCCOE. Something is very, very wrong—and it begins & ends with the board & superintendent—the governance team. And right now all seems to be 'FUBAR'. It is so FUBAR that a number of my constituents of~18 years want me to do something even though I've not been on the board since 2012. While flattering, I believe what they want more than me to run for my former seat—is for each of you to just grow a 'frogging' pair and to ensure the COE is carrying out it's statutory roles with the highest, unimpeachable levels of integrity.
Thanks in advance for listening & considering my voice.