School board backs Skelly in annual review | June 21, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 21, 2013

School board backs Skelly in annual review

Despite criticism over U.S. investigations, superintendent earns satisfactory rating

Palo Alto School Superintendent Kevin Skelly emerged from his annual performance review with a satisfactory rating, Board of Education President Dana Tom said Thursday.

"We discussed strengths and areas to develop, and he got a satisfactory evaluation as he has in the past," Tom said of Wednesday's session in which board members met for closed-door deliberations.

Skelly's compensation was not discussed, Tom said.

Skelly came to Palo Alto as superintendent in 2007. He has been under fire recently from some parents, most visibly the group We Can Do Better Palo Alto, for not promptly and fully disclosing to the board and to the public a federal investigation that resulted in findings against the district last December in a middle-school bullying case, among other criticisms. Skelly later apologized for the misstep.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights concluded that the district's failure to control the bullying, which was related to the student's disability, created a "hostile environment" that rose above a social or discipline problem to become a violation of the student's civil rights.

The district is in the process of revising its bullying policy and reporting regulations as a result of that case. In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating two other cases filed against the district. The agency cleared the district last week in a separate case, which had alleged racial discrimination in a middle-school discipline case (see article, "Feds find 'insufficient evidence'").

The district, including a board subcommittee, is still working on final language for the new bullying policy and accompanying regulations and plans to ask staff members at the California School Boards Association and the California Department of Education to review it before it's proposed for approval by the full Palo Alto board.

"I know everybody's anxious to get this but we want to do that piece right," Skelly said Tuesday.

— Chris Kenrick


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