Guest Writer Sally Smith (Sally Smith Biography)

San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Central office cuts have been promised by Superintendent Cindy Marten and the Board of Education.  Deep cuts were made to IT, Custodial, Transportation and many other critical departments this year while Marten expanded Central Office departments that were her “pet projects” and that contributed virtually nothing to student educational success.

One of the first useless departments  that Marten deployed (and should be immediately cut) was the Office of Family and Community Engagement (F.A.C.E.), which  was created to solve a problem that did not exist. The existing parent involvement program was excellent.

Looking for budget cuts, the budget for  F.A.C.E. is $2,138,886, including the cost a new -created executive director position at a cost of $154,800, and would be substantial savings. Under Marten, the efficient and quality parent involvement program went from 7.77 positions to 17.27 positions. Adding bureaucrats did not result in increased family and community engagement. In fact, the president of the District Advisory Council, Suzy Reid, and many school clusters continue to bemoan the lack of parent participation in community meetings. At a recent board meeting, Reid informed the board of decreasing attendance. A cluster council meeting was cancelled due to poor attendance.

Nevertheless, elementary school principal Stanley Anjan  was promoted to the executive director  position. His new office would be across the hallway from Superintendent Cindy Marten.  I met with Anjan at the Ballard Center.  We discussed his vision which  centered around platitudes.  Nothing substantive. Now Anjan earned, as the executive director, $154,800, from $131,300 as an elementary school principal. Previously the program manager for Parent Outreach operating out of the Ballard Center  cost  $132,678.

Here is the budget:

In the next year, Anjan hired more resource teachers and spent a lot of time perusing catalogs for marketing materials. The platitudes he spouted at our meeting were emblazoned on 15 foot banners hanging in the Ballard Center hallway and auditorium, and the Education Center on Normal Street.

Here are some of the banners:

The office cranked out photographs of smiling parents, shiny brochures, banners of all kinds advertising F.A.C.E.  Flashy but no reports, or proof, of its effectiveness.

The first  place to start for budget cuts is the F.A.C.E. office.



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