Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bertha Lopez failed to do due diligence at Castle Park Elementary, so what exactly was she doing at Sweetwater Union High School District?

See all posts re Bertha Lopez

I know that school board member Bertha Lopez kept her head firmly planted in the sand during a serious crisis at my school in Chula Vista Elementary School District. Rather than do due diligence, she preferred to pay lawyers $100,000s of tax dollars over a period of years. She and other board members refused to turn over Bate-stamped documents, and refused to testify. Why? Well, it's sort of a vicious circle: it's what the lawyers told them to do!

So I'm not inclined to fully believe her when she says she was doing due diligence at her new district. What she was doing, in my opinion, was playing politics. If the politics had been different, Bertha would have switched over to the other side in this case in a heartbeat.

I do believe that most judges feel obligated to find in favor of school districts. People in government feel a duty to protect government. And schools are such a slimy mess, what judge in his right mind would want to wade into the swamp?

Sweetwater official loses suit against trustee

Administrator claimed intrusion, board member said she was just doing her job
San Diego Union-Tribune
By Tanya Sierra
January 11, 2011


An administrator who sued Sweetwater Union High School District board member Bertha Lopez lost her case last week.

Charlene Lemons-Shivers, who was director of alternative education, claimed she suffered undue scrutiny from Lopez for reporting unapproved overtime for an employee. She complained that Lopez targeted the program through questions and unannounced visits. Lopez said she was doing her due diligence as a board member.

Last week, Superior Court Judge William Cannon ruled in favor of Lopez and the district by dismissing the case.

“It is critical that our elected officials feel free to express their concerns without fear of litigation,” Lopez attorney Dan Shinoff said in a statement. “Otherwise, our elected officials would have to balance their concerns with fear of personal concerns of litigation. She was sued personally and had to deal with the anxiety of litigation for many months. Ms. Lopez and the District have been vindicated.”

Lemons-Shivers did not return a call seeking comment. The administrator was recently reassigned from her position over Alternative Education, where she supervised nearly 200 people over several campuses. She is now director of Educational Technology & Data, in which she supervises seven people. Her pay of $131,397 has not changed.

Linda Jenkins, who worked with Lemons-Shivers on the African-American Student/Parent Conference and a tour of historically black colleges, praised her as a strong role model for black students.

“Who is going to lead the black kids now that she’s been beaten into the ground?” Jenkins said.

Shinoff said he intends to seek reimbursement of about $30,000 from Lemons-Shivers for defending the case.

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