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MBUSD Board Approves Principal Transitions

Jul 14, 2016 01:33PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Clockwise from top left: John Jackson, Rhonda Steinberg, Nancy Doyle, Kim Linz

The Manhattan Beach Unified School District has approved a four-way transition of principals at Manhattan Beach schools, clearing the way for the principals to begin work at their new schools before the start of the school year.

Four MBUSD principals will essentially rotate jobs under the new plan:
"The reassignments considered the specific strengths each principal will bring to their new school, the needs of each site, and the best ways to continue amplifying student successes throughout our district," MBUSD Superintendent Mike Matthews wrote in an email to parents on Thursday. "I firmly believe that each of our principals will grow from the experience and that all of our students will benefit."

The motion was approved at Wednesday night's school board meeting by a vote of 4-1, with board member Christine Cronin-Hurst as the lone dissenter.

The topic of the principal transitions became a heated one in June when Grand View parents led an effort to keep their principal, and parents and community members flooded a school board meeting asking board members to give the action more consideration. At the time, the board tabled the vote on the principal transitions with the promise to revisit the issue at the July meeting.

"While many were in favor of these reassignments, there were also those who were opposed," wrote Matthews on Thursday. "Now that the board has made its determination, I am confident that we will move forward as a unified district... Our children are now looking to us to show them how to respond to this change, and I am grateful that our parents, teachers, and staff will model the excitement and optimism that come with new beginnings and new school years.

The matter has not been without contention on the board.

Cronin has filed complaints with the Los Angeles District Attorney and the L.A. County Civil Grand Jury accusing the board of violating the Brown Act by failing to properly disclose the nature of its June 1 closed session meeting in which the transitions were discussed, and "improper agendizing" of of an action item on which she claims that consensus and a conclusion had already been reached by a majority of the board.

The Brown Act is a California statute that regulates the ability of California city and county government agencies, boards, and councils to hold secret or undisclosed meetings.Matthews said that he did not believe there were any Brown Act violations.

Separately, at the June board meeting, the board had voted 4-1 to censure member Christine Cronin-Hurst for breaching confidentiality of closed session subject matter, in violation of the Brown Act.

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