Despite 'satisfactory' review, Skelly contract not extended beyond 2016 | July 19, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 19, 2013

Despite 'satisfactory' review, Skelly contract not extended beyond 2016

Palo Alto superintendent's salary remains the same

Palo Alto school district Superintendent Kevin Skelly received a satisfactory performance review for 2012-13, but his contract was not extended beyond the current expiration date of June 30, 2016, Board of Education President Dana Tom confirmed this week.

Skelly's 2013-14 salary will be $287,163, the same amount he has received annually for the past two years, according to Scott Bowers, assistant superintendent for human resources.

A salary schedule attached to his contract — contingent upon receiving an "overall rating of satisfactory" on the annual evaluation — shows salary compensation of $248,063 in 2008-09 rising to the current level in 2011-12 with no further provision for increase.

Skelly was hired in 2007 with an original contract end date of 2012. Each year since then, except for 2010 and 2013, the contract has been extended for an additional year.

The Board of Education met June 19 for its annual, full-day evaluation of the superintendent's performance.

The review included discussion of strengths as well as things that could have been done better and future goals, Tom said.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


Posted by Have to put up with Skelly till 2016?, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Too bad, they did not fired him. Now we stack with a skelly who does a poor job,lies,spends his check with no remorse, while a little girl suffers the consequences of his poor job along with the unsatisfactory job of Katherine Baker at Terman, but of course skelly proted her so she testifies on the PAUSD side. This is injustice. Why can he be let go?

Posted by Barnum, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] This is stomach turning. Skelly and Board secretly vote to obstruct federal investigation under guise of protecting the children. Bravo PR lady. Well played. One is born every minute even in PA.

Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I would hope that one day Palo Alto commits to a new era of "transparency"--which offers some insight into the Superintendent's annual review. I would hope that one day the PAUSD BoT and the Superintendent agree to a set of objectives, and that those objectives are published as a part of the annual review. Last years objects would be made available to the public, at least at a high-level, and then some sort of rating offered, such as "Exceeds Expectations", "Meets Expectations, or "Does Not Meet Expectations".

With a revenue stream that will exceed $2B in the next decade, it seems tragic that we have no idea what objectives the Superintendent (and the District) are working towards, and just how well the BoT thinks that the Superintendent has achived his/her assigned goals.

It would also be nice if the public could submit questions, and have the BoT submit these questions to the Superintendent and his/her answers published.

This whole approach to closed door evaluation of this key local government figure is no longer acceptable.

Posted by Have to put up with Skelly till 2016?, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Obviously skelly failed for sure at least to the student who was harassed based on disability, and it affected her emotional health so I do not see how the board said his work was satisfactory. I think they are embarrassed to said unsatisfactory and are embarrassed to let him go, and they do not have what it takes to fire someone, but by doing that they are also failing the student. Now they are as guilty as skelly.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Sounds like a luxury deal to me.

Posted by NoSurprise, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

The fact that Skelly received a satisfactory performance review tells us everything we need to know about this particular school board. They exist in an alternate reality
and unless every single member of it is replaced through the election process, the PAUSD will continue its downward spiral.

Posted by Retired Teacher, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Kevin Skelly is doing a very difficult job and doing it very well, even with this insistent pack of naysayers attacking him unfairly at every turn. He gets paid the "big" bucks because he's in a tough job.

As for extensions, who would want to stay in such a poisonous situation as this school district has become? I wouldn't blame him for a second if he went to a more civilized job in a more civilized area.

Posted by No apologies, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Kevin Skelly's job is no more difficult than any job in PAUSD, and PAUSD, as much as we would like to think of ourselves as unique, is not much different in terms of how civilized we behave as a school district community. [Portion removed.] I reject the notion that we have a "pack of naysayers," a pack of rabid dogs, or a pack of anyone. As a citizen, I can see that the wheels came off this bus quite a while ago. Kevin Skelly was a rookie superintendent when he signed on in 2007 and that was what we got. His plus was that he was not Callan. His negative was that he had no experience, which has been revealed in increasing amounts as stakeholders began asking questions. The board is in charge of Skelly and his ridiculous salary and contract. The pattern may be two years of contract extensions followed by one year without, or maybe the 2010 and 2013 no extension was a commentary on his handling of the suicides and lack of honesty and transparency, but we would have to speculate because the board does not effectively communicate with its community. [Portion removed.] The problem now is the board. They are incapable of leading without direction from Skelly, which is opposite of the design. The board needs to be voted out. I voted for Heidi and Camille and I regret it, but that is because critical information was purposefully kept from me by Skelly and Young, and presumably the board. I've also stopped all donations to my child's school and to any district organization. I won't be paying the $600-$700 to PTA or PiE. Students won't be hurt at all, if you have ever scrutinized your school's PiE budget. So much fluff, just like the technology bond. Remember, I am one person so it should not worry Retired Teacher or any other apologist for the district. OCR complaints, small informal parent groups, or tiny local newspapers have not ruined this school district. You and I did out of complacency, which allowed the people at the top to repeatedly bungle basic administration and leadership. There are plenty of tough people out there who can handle these supposedly tough jobs. Try working as a school custodian or teacher. As I recall, those positions weren't exactly easy jobs. Ironically, the easiest "job" out there is the school board's. Barbara Mitchell only makes it difficult when she loses the focus on kids and fixates on the bad guys in the federal government. All you have to do, board, is vote. It is extremely easy, but you have refused to do so on so many issues, making you look lost and weak. Don't make us ride this nightmare Skelly train until 2016. End it now.

Posted by Barnum, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Yes, obviously it's a pattern. he wasn't due for an extension this year -- it's not a sign of failure. 08, 09 extension. 10, no. 11, 12 extension. 13 no.

Our board keeps its unbroken string of being spineless. Whew. The headline had me worried. Step right up for the greatest show on earth.

Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Our school superintendent has failed badly in just about everything. I could write a dissertation on his miserable multiple failures. According to one poster, any criticism of this particular superintendent is "naysaying" and practically unacceptable. Since when is criticism of a public employee by the very same people who pay his salary considered a bad thing? Some people need to study very closely what democracy is actually all about.

The notion that the job of superintendent in the PAUSD is ""very difficult" is ludicrous. It's a high paying job with great benefit and if one does it properly, unlike the present superintendent, it's actually a very easy job.

Posted by wondering, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Folks can advocate dumping Skelly all they want, but ultimately the decision on whether or not to renew Skelly's contract is up to the BOE. When will the various BOE members be up for re-election?

Posted by retired Teacher, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Ah, yes, boscoli, it is such an easy job to be the superintendent of a high-powered district like the PAUSD. There's no pressure from the various types of teachers--they're all in agreement about everything. It's easy dealing with high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, no differences there. Special Education doesn't present any problems. The support staff never has any issues to present. The administrative group? Zero politics, zero strife. Unions? All sweetness and light.

Parents? In Palo Alto? Sure, Skelly, do whatever you want. We've got your back.

Then there's this special group of parents who actually present an insoluble problem. They're critical, unlike anyone else Skelly has to deal with? Actually, their criticism is biased, unfair, vitriolic, and unrelenting. If everything else in the district was "easy" as you seem to believe, such nastiness wouldn't be an intolerable burden.

But alas, Boscoli, you're wrong. This was always a tough job. Now, it's pretty much impossible.

Posted by No apologies, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:30 am

[Portion removed.]

I agree with retired Teacher that being superintendent is a tough job (though I don't agree with how biased, unfair, vitriolic, and unrelenting he or she is in her attacks) but it is no tougher than dozens of positions in public education, especially in light of the direct and indirect dollars he receives. We paid him to perform his job at a level of excellence and in no way has he done that for our students or community. Our board, it is clear, does not know what to do. They have the elected power and they needed to put him on administrative leave 13 months ago. If Marilyn Cook is good enough to run Paly on an interim basis then she is good enough to run the superintendent's office for a few months while Leadership Associates runs a search. [Portion removed.]

Posted by registered user, spectator at large, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:14 am

@No apologies: Couldn't agree with you more on your observations of Skelly and the Board. Please see the other thread I just posted on.

It is clear that you know what you are talking about and the sooner we get rid of Skelly the better. Truly Palo Alto Deserves Way Better!

Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:52 am

I couldn't agree more with "No apologies". Skelly is a disappointment of humungous proportions, matched only by a Board that makes Congress look good (which is not easy to do).

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2013 at 11:03 am

There are people who thrive on the publicity and the reputation of ruthlessly getting what they want ... Donald Trump(?) I doubt many people choosing education as their profession want that reputation or even want to deal with someone having that reputation. Our community should create an environment favorable for the type of people we want. Hold people accountable for both the results they achieve and for the challenges they tackle. Discuss what they should have done and what they did do.

If we want an aggressive, no-nonsense, publicity hungry "leader" we can create an environment that only that type of person would be attracted to. Do we want that?

Discuss what they should have done and did do without insults.

Posted by Fire the liar, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 22, 2013 at 11:35 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Paly Mother, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I am outraged that the PAUSD School Board renewed Skelly's contract. I doubt that even 50% of PAUSD parents, probably more like 20%, are even aware of or following the terrible stewardship and management of the PAUSD school board as well as the unbelievably poor performance of Superintendent Skelly. How do we start a petition to have Skelly impeached/removed as well as replacing everyone of the school board members? I do not believe that informed Palo Alto resident, regarding Skelly's mishandling of the Federal cases brought against PAUSD, wants Skelly to remain in his appointed office. Someone needs to form an organization of concerned residents to work towards having Skelly replaced immediately. Palo Alto's students cannot continue to suffer under his poor management and leadership for three more years when his contract is up. We will need lawyers to help accomplish this.

Posted by Have to put up with Skelly till 2016?, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Paly mother, I agree with you, but do not know how to get start the petition, perhaps we can start something as easy as, and send the petition to other parents. Later someone might guide us how to do a more formal one. Let me know if I can help. Enough is enough, Katherine Baker should go too. She did not deserve the promotion either [portion removed.] To me this is the biggest proof that he is not a good leadership. He is sending the wrong message to the rest of the employees he supervises.

Posted by No apologies, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I'll try to reword this to make it less provocative. I'll even hold back some obvious facts. But if this is a forum, I won't stop posting my opinion. First, we have invested a great deal of public money into Kevin Skelly and the regime that he has hired. The Weekly reports that he was getting around $250K per year and now gets $287K per year. Combined with the interest-free loan and numerous other perks, do the math and you'll see we have at least a $2 million dollar tab, but I have to ask the question that the board should ask publicly: are we receiving that much performance out of Kevin Skelly? Has he been worth $2 million? If the answer is no, then he needs to be paid. He may or may not get 18 months of pay. What is that, another $420K? Yep, he is paid handsomely for this "tough" job.

Posted by Have to put up with Skelly till 2016?, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]