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Coachella Valley Teachers Association accuses district leaders of ‘unethical behavior’

The Coachella Valley Teachers Association is once again at odds with district leaders, this time over alleged 'unethical behavior.'

President Carissa Carrera said since current acting Superintendent Dr. Frances Esparza started with the school district, she's been given "carte blanche" by the majority of the school board to "revamp the Education Services Department."

Carrera stated that there are concerns among the union about the process being implemented by Dr. Esparza regarding the hiring of administrators. "We felt that there was favoritism going on," according to Carrera. She added that it appeared to the union that Dr. Esparza was "getting rid of people she did not like, and keeping people that she does like." Carrera released the following statement to News Channel 3 prior to providing an interview:

“This morning the Coachella Valley Teachers Association was made aware of unethical behavior on the part of a district level administrator, behavior which changes traditional hiring practices and results in inequitable opportunities for employment amongst current employees. CVTA immediately notified CVUSD School Board President Joey Acuna, Jr. via email, along with all other trustees and cabinet, and called for an immediate investigation. Instead, we received only an acknowledgement of receipt of our email and today’s four scheduled interview panels were allowed to proceed as planned. 

CVTA has been concerned with CVUSD hiring practices in the past, but this recent development is unprecedented even for our district and the lack of concern or action by our school board is disturbing at least. We currently know of several witnesses to this unethical behavior and we will continue to call for an investigation into the matter, as the integrity of our district matters to us and this current development could have long term negative reverberating effects, ultimately harming the students of CVUSD.”

Carissa Carrera, President, Coachella Valley Teachers Association

We asked Dr. Esparza if her actions or the actions of the school board related to the interview process of candidates for any of the administrator positions are in violation of existing rules, to which Dr. Esparza replied "absolutely not."

"Being an ethical administrator, just making sure that on the panel we have experts and so we have brought our experts to be able to sit on the panel for some of our academic positions, some of our state and federal positions, as well as for our position of Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. These are experts in the field. They are not employees of the district and they come with their expertise to ensure that we are finding the best candidates," according to Dr. Esparza.

Esparza also explained that in addition to having an expert to each hiring panel, both CVTA Union and CSEA Union leaders, including Carissa Carrera, are on every panel.

She added that the district takes the union's comments "seriously" and that "at this point in time the board has referred this to our legal counsel," which will be responsible for issuing a response to the union's request.

Meanwhile, according to Carrera, the board is required by law to conduct an investigation within 60 days.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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