Some Hayward School Board Members Advocating For Large Supe Contract

Stan “Data” Dobbs has strong support
from Hayward school board members
John Taylor and Lisa Brunner.

HAYWARD SCHOOL BOARD | The contract likely approved Wednesday evening by the Hayward school board for appointed interim superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs may equal or exceed that of his vastly more experienced predecessor, while questions arise over his community support.

Dobbs, who has neither previous experience as a school superintendent nor any hours in the classroom during in his career, may be in line for a contract between $205,000 and $240,000. Dr. Donald Evans, who was recently was named superintendent for the Berkeley Unified School District, earned nearly $230,000 and with far more experience than Dobbs.

News of the exorbitant contract discussed by the school board in closed session is the latest in a long line of peculiar circumstances surrounding various school board members and a zealous push by others in the Hayward community, including the teachers union to install Dobbs as its next superintendent despite his limited credentials.

Strong anti-union comments made by Dobbs to a San Diego news site last February rankled teacher so much that some created an online petition calling for his removal, but was followed conversely, by almost diametrically opposed appreciation for Dobbs by union brass in Hayward.

Dobbs’ own stint at Hayward Unified ended last November after just less than two years and his apparent return just six months later has reportedly signaled no cause for concern by school board members, although not all, including Dobbs, were entirely sold on his initial candidacy. Dobbs’ reportedly attempt last Friday to drop out of consideration, has also raised few questions for his desire to seek their open superintendent’s position. The Citizen has learned Dobbs was reluctant to apply for the position from the beginning for unknown reasons.

According to sources in the community, school board members William McGee and Annette Walker initially opposed Dobbs over, among other reasons, unspecified poor behavior with colleagues while previously heading the district’s business department. School board member Dr. Luis Reynoso, the lone no votes during Dobbs’ appointment June 8, has reportedly always been against Dobbs’ candidacy, and not surprising since both routinely clashed during school board meetings.

However, sometime between his Dobbs’ candidacy, first revealed publicly by the teachers’ union Web site and the June vote, McGee and Walker switched their vote. McGee, the board’s president, is up for re-election next year and Walker was elected last November, in large part due to the decision of two incumbent board members to not seek re-election following a protracted sex scandal last summer.

Board members John Taylor and Lisa Brunner, however, have been unwavering in their support of Dobbs, sources say. Taylor, in fact, is viewed as the point man in enticing Dobbs to return to the East Bay.

In a short interview with Taylor following Tuesday’s two-hour meeting over Dobbs’ superintendent contract, his comments suggested having very recent contact with the candidate, for which he is currently negotiating a contract. Such conduct can represent specific ethical violations for elected officials and pose a significant breach of the public’s trust and treasury, if found true.

Taylor and Brunner, in turn, were heard to advocate offering Dobbs a contract in the neighborhood of $240,000. Such an amount is in excess of what Evans received just 18 months ago. In addition, there is a growing consensus among Dobbs’ detractors the real impetus for his unwavering support among some groups in Hayward is for Dobbs to lead a likely campaign next year for a large bond measure for the district’s infrastructure.

Although, the city’s residents have looked kindly recently for taxing itself for school construction, the most underperforming in Alameda County may seek a bond similar to Measure I passed in 2008 and the Measure G parcel tax approved in 2010. However, it could be more difficult this time around after such borrowing was assailed recently by critics, such as Hayward resident and State Treasurer Bill Lockyer for being a long-term drain on municipal treasuries.

The $21 million in risky capital improvement bonds issued by Hayward Unified in 2010 will cost residents $131 million over the next three decades. Lockyer called for an investigation last March into the use of such underwriting methods often used by districts, like Hayward, with pressing reconstruction needs, but little short-term capital.

All of this has left critics to suspect the candidacy of Dobbs, an expert in finance, falls directly on the nexus of many mutually beneficial interests, including the teachers union, powerful local development and real estate groups and school board members seeking for support for re-election and with Dobbs as the point man.

Shane Bond contributed reporting to this story

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