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Was school board wise moving Breitenbucher?

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POSTED June 20, 2009 1:14 a.m.
Editor Manteca Bulletin,
I found the article regarding the hiring of Ms. Jacqui Breitenbucher for the top business position (senior director of business services) for Manteca Unified School District quite interesting.  While it is explained in the article that Ms. Breitenbucher has been with Manteca Unified School District since 1993, none of these years have been in the business office, at the district office.  It is also mentioned that Ms. Breitenbucher spent several years in the corporate business world and private sector, prior to being initially employed as a teacher and then on to her current position as a principal.  It is a well known fact that school district business is an entirely different animal, than the private/corporate sector.

While I am sure that Ms. Breitenbucher is an intelligent and hardworking individual, it seems very puzzling that the best candidate for the top business position, a principal, had the best qualifications for the senior director of business services position.  During these challenging economic times, it seems strange that there was not one candidate screened and/or interviewed, that actually had school district experience in the business office.
 
Quite understandably there would need to be a short time devoted to bringing Ms. Breitenbucher up to speed on the current duties of the senior director of business services. As is the norm, it would be assumed that this training would be done by current or even employees who are retiring (prior to their departure).  While many people are assuming that Ms. Breitenbucher is going to be able to step into this position with minimal training, it makes it even more upsetting to hear rumors (usually where there’s smoke there’s fire at MUSD) that MUSD is in the process of hiring two, possibly three contracted consultants for up to a year each, to help Ms. Breitenbucher acclimate in her new position.  

The hiring of multiple high priced consultants to train a new, highly paid administrator at the district office seems quite outlandish; considering that there have been severe budgets cuts, including the loss of over 200 jobs.  If Ms. Breitenbucher requires highly priced consultants to train her in her new top district position, it is highly questionable exactly how she was deemed the top candidate for this position.  Does MUSD routinely contract high paid consultants to train employees in any other position?   How is the hiring of high priced consultants going to appear to the tax payers and the employees who have agreed to take a pay cut (to save their jobs) or even worse, to the employees who have been given final layoff notices?!

 Were any of the school board members, who voted 7-0 to put her in this position, bothered to be on the interview panel?  Since this is the top business position, it seems warranted that at least two board members (one at the least) should have been in on the interview and hiring process, besides voting yes or no at the very end of the process.  Were the board members given information about the candidates interviewed, or were they spoon fed what the administration personnel deemed they needed to know?  If the rumors about hiring consultants to train a new administrator in their new position are true, then this hiring is starting to sound more like the “good old boy network” hiring one of their own, instead of the person most qualified for the job being hired.  If so, then who came up with this questionable hiring process and why is the school board allowing it to continue!
 Samantha Robertson
Manteca
June 19, 2009
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