The Sweetwater school board president says they will discuss the performance of Superintendent Jesus Gandara in a closed meeting already scheduled later this month. But the board member who called for a meeting about Gandara said that isn’t what she was asking for.

In an email to John McCann, the president, and the rest of the Sweetwater Union High School District board on Monday, trustee Bertha Lopez called for a closed meeting to talk about Superintendent Jesus Gandara, saying she wanted to discuss putting him on leave after a series of scandals were reported in the Union-Tribune.

Lopez told me on Tuesday she hadn’t gotten a response to an earlier, similar request. McCann disputed that because the superintendent’s evaluation was already planned for late June, something that Lopez and the rest of the Sweetwater board already knew.

“Mrs. Lopez is being dishonest in stating that she wants to have an agenda item on the Superintendent’s performance and that nothing has been put on the agenda,” McCann said in an email. He added, “The Superintendent’s evaluation is a very important matter. It will be conducted by ALL five Board members and handled in a professional manner in accordance with legal requirements.”

Lopez said evaluating the superintendent, which includes weighing whether the superintendent has met school district goals and gauging his leadership, isn’t the same thing as setting a meeting to talk about the issues exposed in the newspaper and whether to put Gandara on leave. McCann countered that it would make no sense to put another evaluation item on the agenda, calling it “political grandstanding.”

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter:

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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