Letters to the Editor: Trustees shouldn’t be criticized for following rules

Last week’s “Education Matters” editorial/opinion column was full of misinformation that should be cleared up for your readers.

Here are the facts: Mary Zobell was presented to the superintendent and board as a consultant who would give Spanish classes at Del Mar Heights in its after-school program. When it was time to renew her contract (mid-year), it became apparent that she was not only giving classes after school, but actually was giving classes DURING school. In doing this, she became more than a consultant; Zobell was performing as a temporary teacher, per State Employment Office guidelines (not, as Sutton states, “arbitrary district guidelines”). As a temporary teacher, the district is obligated to withhold employee taxes, which it didn’t do because it didn’t know.

Who presented Zobell as a consultant rather than a temporary teacher? Principals know the rules for hiring teachers. Principals know how the school board has said salaries will be funded. Heights Principal Wendy Wardlow should have been clear that Zobell’s role was that of a temporary teacher, not a consultant. If she had been clear, the board would not have authorized the contract.

Marsha Sutton did not place any blame on Wardlow. Instead, Sutton spewed her venom any which way: the current school board, the Foundation, even named an individual parent. Then she went off on an equity tangent. She threw everyone under the bus except Wardlow.

I could chalk it up to bad journalism, but this time it was more. It was harmful. It had the potential to damage the reputations of good people and good organizations. Our school district has rules made by the board and the state, and these rules apply to all schools in the district. I would expect Sutton to criticize the district when she discovers it breaking its own rules. Why is she so angry when the school board insists on following its rules?

Kate Takahashi,

DMUSD parent