san benito high school_11.jpg

Dear San Benito High School community members: The San Benito High School Teachers’ Association needs your support on a very important issue that will be on the ballot in a few weeks. We ask you to help us get the school board back on track by voting for Patty Nehme and John Corrigan, endorsed by both the San Benito Teachers Association and the Spring Grove Teachers Association.

They have youthful energy, the right kind of experiences to deal with modern issues facing the high school, and they understand the role the board should play to keep the school progressing in the right direction. They have children that attend the high school and have that personal connection to our most important constituents. Both have been highly successful in creating teamwork and building collaboration in their respective careers.

As you are probably already aware, our school board is in desperate need of some focus and leadership. Board meetings can last four hours or more, making it nearly impossible for those community members who work and are raising children to participate. If you wonder why our meetings are so long and drawn out, you have only to watch the board meeting recordings to find out. You can view them on You Tube (search “San Benito High School Board meetings”).

You will see a board, the majority of whom are retired educators, out of the classroom for decades in some cases, attempting to micro-manage the smallest of decisions and ruminating over minutia. They have hired an innovative and current superintendent in John Perales and he has appointed Adrian Ramirez, a competent, intelligent, hardworking product of our community and schools to be principal, and yet they undermine Mr. Ramirez’s leadership continually.

Remember, this was the board that drug their feet on modernizing classrooms for years.You will see frequent late starts due to long closed sessions or occasionally 40-minute birthday or other celebrations complete with cake and family members. You will see frequent strolls down “memory lane” as long retired educators relive moments from the past for the board and the high school government students who are there to learn about participating in local government processes.

Other factors include the highly secretive way they operate. The teachers’ association conducted a poll last spring of 126 high school teachers asking for a vote of confidence on a scale of 1-5 for both the board and the superintendent. While the superintendent was widely viewed as inspiring confidence, with an overall rating above 4.2, the board scored a dismal 2.2. This information was presented to the board, which then attempted to undermine the validity of 126 teachers’ opinions by calling the survey “rigged.” 

Did it cause them to ask to meet with teachers to understand why they inspire so little confidence? No, and when the association offered to give formal input to the superintendent’s evaluation, a section of which is dedicated to evaluating how well he supervises his staff, we were told the board was not the least bit interested.

In September, we conducted an association-wide forum, then a vote, to select the candidates we would endorse and the board president did not receive a single vote. Why are our board members so conspicuously absent from visiting the campus and classrooms? If our board members are so proud of their record, why don’t we see them publicly touting our many successes and praising our school site administrators and teachers?

Instead, we see them spending countless hours second-guessing their experts and clinging to examining reams of data that are rendered useless by the frequent updating of curriculum and assessments. The teacher is by far the most important factor in a child’s education, as all the research and personal anecdotes support. We need a board that cares enough about our students to listen to their teachers. Please help us support our students by voting Nehme and Corrigan for high school board.

Thank you, The San Benito High School Teachers Association