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Central Unified Parents Ramp Up Support for Deposed Sutton

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Former Central Unified Superintendent Mark Sutton (photo: Central Unified)

The support for deposed Central Unified Superintendent Mark Sutton appears strong.
A private Facebook group called “Central United” consists of more than 1,200 members, mainly those from the Central Unified community. Some of the posts discuss the most recent boys’ basketball championship. Most deal with the Sutton aftermath.
Some are advocating the recall of some board members and voting the rest out in November. Some are taking orders for “Support Mark Sutton” buttons.
Last week (Feb. 27), the board fired Sutton on a 4-3 vote unaccompanied by a public explanation. Rumor and innuendo are circulating as to what the reasons were, but GV Wire has yet to verify any of them.
While the Central Unified Board of Trustees meets Tuesday night (March 6) to discuss hiring an interim superintendent, a grassroots movement of parents and teachers is picking up momentum on social media.
Many members of the Facebook group are angry. Discussions delve into the intricacies of the recall process, encouragement for attending union meetings and Tuesday’s special board meeting, and thoughts on how to return Sutton to his post.

Who Can Trust the Board?

Jonathan Pantages is a parent and Sutton supporter. He questions the reasoning for the board’s dismissal of Sutton.
“I feel like they are hiding behind ‘a personnel issue so we can’t discuss it.’ If there was wrongdoing, a legit reason, it would have been a 7-0 vote. It smells fishy. We are not going to get an explanation.”

“It smells fishy. We are not going to get an explanation.”—parent Jonathan Pantages
Pantages says that he never focused on district politics until the Sutton issue came to the forefront.
“The activism is good. I haven’t been involved, paying attention. I focus on my kids’ school. All of a sudden, this big issue awakened the community. We can control this by getting out there and voting. We want to send a message: We are in charge.”
His final thought echoed what many expressed on the Facebook page: “Who can trust the board at this point?”

Granda Faces Constituents

Board of Trustees President Cesar Granda has been dealing with constituents about his vote for the past week.

Central Unified Board of Trustees President Cesar Granda (photo: Central Unified)

“Nobody likes change. It was unpopular,” he told GV Wire.
“Nobody likes change. It was unpopular.”—Central Unified School Board President Cesar Granda
But he stands by his vote: “Collectively as a board, we decided to move forward. I do wish Mark (Sutton) the best in his future.”
Granda says privacy laws prevent the trustees from revealing why they fired Sutton.
“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating that we might not seem to be transparent, but the employee has rights,” he said.
For Tuesday’s meeting, Granda anticipates a closed session lasting up to an hour talking about an interim superintendent. Granda also intends to ask the district’s legal counsel about the differences between an acting and interim superintendent, as well as compensation issues.
“We are starting fresh,” he said. “I want to educate myself on the process.”
Granda did not identify potential candidates but did mention that Central has “three, very-well trained assistant superintendents.”

Tuesday Meeting

The meeting takes place at the district office (5652 W. Gettysburg Ave., room 4), starting at 6 p.m. The agenda opens with public comment before the board meets in closed session. The trustees will announce a decision, if any, when they reconvene in regular session.
 
 
 
 

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email