Former Central Unified Superintendent Mark Sutton (photo: Central Unified)

The support for deposed Central Unified Superintendent Mark Sutton appears strong.

A private Facebook group called “Central United” consists of more than 1,200 members, mainly those from the Central Unified community. Some of the posts discuss the most recent boys’ basketball championship. Most deal with the Sutton aftermath.

Some are advocating the recall of some board members and voting the rest out in November. Some are taking orders for “Support Mark Sutton” buttons.

Last week (Feb. 27), the board fired Sutton on a 4-3 vote unaccompanied by a public explanation. Rumor and innuendo are circulating as to what the reasons were, but GV Wire has yet to verify any of them.

While the Central Unified Board of Trustees meets Tuesday night (March 6) to discuss hiring an interim superintendent, a grassroots movement of parents and teachers is picking up momentum on social media.

Many members of the Facebook group are angry. Discussions delve into the intricacies of the recall process, encouragement for attending union meetings and Tuesday’s special board meeting, and thoughts on how to return Sutton to his post.

Who Can Trust the Board?

Jonathan Pantages is a parent and Sutton supporter. He questions the reasoning for the board’s dismissal of Sutton.

“I feel like they are hiding behind ‘a personnel issue so we can’t discuss it.’ If there was wrongdoing, a legit reason, it would have been a 7-0 vote. It smells fishy. We are not going to get an explanation.”

“It smells fishy. We are not going to get an explanation.”—parent Jonathan Pantages

Pantages says that he never focused on district politics until the Sutton issue came to the forefront.

“The activism is good. I haven’t been involved, paying attention. I focus on my kids’ school. All of a sudden, this big issue awakened the community. We can control this by getting out there and voting. We want to send a message: We are in charge.”

His final thought echoed what many expressed on the Facebook page: “Who can trust the board at this point?”

Granda Faces Constituents

Board of Trustees President Cesar Granda has been dealing with constituents about his vote for the past week.

Central Unified Board of Trustees President Cesar Granda (photo: Central Unified)

“Nobody likes change. It was unpopular,” he told GV Wire.

“Nobody likes change. It was unpopular.”—Central Unified School Board President Cesar Granda

But he stands by his vote: “Collectively as a board, we decided to move forward. I do wish Mark (Sutton) the best in his future.”

Granda says privacy laws prevent the trustees from revealing why they fired Sutton.

“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating that we might not seem to be transparent, but the employee has rights,” he said.

For Tuesday’s meeting, Granda anticipates a closed session lasting up to an hour talking about an interim superintendent. Granda also intends to ask the district’s legal counsel about the differences between an acting and interim superintendent, as well as compensation issues.

“We are starting fresh,” he said. “I want to educate myself on the process.”

Granda did not identify potential candidates but did mention that Central has “three, very-well trained assistant superintendents.”

Tuesday Meeting

The meeting takes place at the district office (5652 W. Gettysburg Ave., room 4), starting at 6 p.m. The agenda opens with public comment before the board meets in closed session. The trustees will announce a decision, if any, when they reconvene in regular session.






2 Responses

  1. Mike

    They started another page called “Central United”. So they run to the new page to complain to people who always agree with them. I’m sorry but that’s not being united. If anything they’re staying divided

  2. kenda

    Laurisa, your outside observation fits the evidence: Noem appears to have thought she”d coast to election, as she did in her last three U.S. House races. That may reflect the mindset of her eight years in Congress: coasting, not really legislating, just raising money and putting in appearances. I contend that would be how she would govern in Pierre, and South Dakota would be worse off for it. She won”t follow through on anything she”s promising, good or bad, because she lacks executive skill and ambition. Jackley and the SDGOP won”t let Sutton”s strengths stop them from throwing all the usual wingnut nonsense at Sutton. It will be up to Sutton and the Dems to counterpunch with things like that ADA issue you mention and it remains to be seen if Team Sutton and the Dems can lob such attacks with the ferocity necessary to win.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

We've got issues, and we're willing to share
(but only if you want them in your inbox).