2020-2021 San Joaquin County Grand Jury Releases Report on SUSD Board of Trustees

On July 21, 2021, the San Joaquin County 2020-2021 Civil Grand Jury released its report investigating the Stockton Unified School District Board of Trustees (SUSD). The most important responsibility of the Board of Trustees is to recruit, hire, and retain a superintendent to lead the district with a long-range vision for district programs and activities that focus on the achievement and well-being of all students.

The 2020-2021 Grand Jury received numerous complaints concerning the dysfunction of the SUSD Board of Trustees. Additionally, there have been media accounts describing conflicts within the district, especially among board members. After reviewing these complaints and media reports, the Grand Jury opened an investigation into the SUSD Board of Trustees.

In its investigation, the Grand Jury conducted 37 interviews, performed on-site visits, and reviewed relevant materials to ascertain the underlying causes of the dysfunction within the administration. Over the past 15 years, SUSD has had a revolving door of superintendents that made it difficult, if not impossible, for changes that lead to increased student achievement to take effect. The Grand Jury found the Trustees misunderstood and disregarded their roles and responsibilities, ignored best hiring practices, violated governance norms, and lacked transparency and public accessibility. Trustees abused their leadership roles to pursue personal disagreements between members and the frequent turnover of superintendents made it easier for board members to act inappropriately and, at times, exceed the limits of their authority.

The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Trustees publicly and officially affirm their commitment to change, adhere to their own standards of governance, and provide transparency and accountability to the public.

The public is encouraged to read the complete report by visiting the Grand Jury’s website.