Isquierdo gets contract expansion, many push for his resignation

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A loud protest in the Sunnyside School Board meeting room Tuesday night as board members vote three to two in favor of extending Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo's contract.

Isquierdo withdrew his name from the top job in San Antonio after his financial and personal problems came to light.

Now many in Sunnyside feel he's not fit to lead them either.
Many people held up signs and posters, demanding Isquierdo's resignation.

Many were upset after they found out. They would not get a chance to speak at the special board meeting.
Despite the loud protests, board members voted to go behind closed doors and discuss Isquierdo's contract extension.
"You can see they shut us out," said Yolanda Herrera, one person against the contract extension. "They don't want to hear what the community has to say."
The room filled with those who want Isquierdo to resign.
"His leadership style is not conducive to good management within Sunnyside District," Sunnyside School Board Member Buck Crouch said.
Opponents cite his personal financial problems, recent bankruptcy and accuse him of misusing the district's credit card.
"He's a bully in the playground. We want the bully out of the playground.  He won't let us speak, he intimidates teachers. We've lost so many teachers this year," Herrera said.
Despite all the controversy, he got the majority vote to stay put.
Isquierdo will stay for three more years.
"I'm very appreciative of the governing board's majority vote," Isquierdo said. "Their vote of confidence. It's been a very difficult time in the last few weeks. [Do] you think three board members would vote to approve my contract if it was about bullying? No, it's about high expectations for Latino children. Six years ago this was a drop out factory; 50 percent of freshmen dropping out; no technology, no funding."

Isquierdo says his biggest achievements have been boosting the graduation rate and advancing technology.  

Protesters in the room say they now plan to push to recall some of the board members in the district.

Isquierdo's base salary will be $150,000 but with all of the perks and benefits, it adds up to more than $300,000.

In a statement to the press, Sunnyside School officials say Dr. Isquierdo has demonstrated high performance marks every year.

They cite graduation numbers have nearly doubled from 550 to 880 in this past year.
They also cite the district as being one of the most tech-savvy in the nation, saying children in grades four through ten will be taking laptops home for the next ten years.

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