HUSD trustee Luis Reynoso has repeatedly made it a point of contention that the district superintendent has no place sitting with board members at public meetings. He says it obfuscates duties, making it appear to the observing public that the top administrator is on the same decision-making body as the elected board. He’d rather see the superintendent off to the side, and preferably at a seperate dias, a la the city manager at City Council meetings.
So it wasn’t that big of a surprise when he selected the one question he wanted to ask all candidates at Wednesday’s interviews:
“It’s a simple question, but it means a lot, at least to me. Where do you believe the superintendent should sit during board meetings, and why?”
Turned out to be a pretty good question in terms of gauging who has been observing the board at work. Six of the 10 candidates clearly knew what he was getting at, while a couple were ambiguous and another two definitely went off-roading with their answer.
No need to name names — no one’s up for a public vote at this time, and, as former schools trustee Gloria Grant-Wilson said, “It takes a lot of courage to stand up there and apply, even if you don’t win, and especially if you don’t win, it takes a lot of courage to keep coming back.”
We’ll have to wait and see if the seating question comes back to the fore in the run-up to the November election.
As for answers, most of the candidates who addressed the issue agreed with Reynoso that to mix the superintendent in with elected officials can be confusing.
Appointed trustee Jesus Armas ventured the following reply while acknowledging his answer might be a black mark in Reynoso’s book:
“The district has more significant issues in front of it than where the chief sits. The district allows the protocol to be directed by the presiding officer, and I honor that decision.”