McKinney Dodges Bullet

(October12) An effort to oust Hesperia Unified School District Superintendent Mark McKinney and three of his top assistant’s has apparently fallen short, the Sentinel has learned.
With the initial backing of board members Eric Swanson and Niccole Childs, Hesperia Unified School District Board President Chris Bentley last week sought to schedule a special emergency  meeting  that was intended to take as its agenda the termination of McKinney along with three other district employees, Jovy Yankaskas, David McLaughlin and Karen Kelly.
Bentley, who is up for reelection in November, was said to have at least one other vote to fire McKinney and was on the brink of obtaining a third.  But before the meeting actually took place, it was abruptly cancelled.
Bentley is under attack by a number of district teachers as the election nears.
McKinney, who was appointed as the interim superintendent in 2007 and had the assignment of permanent superintendent conferred upon him in 2008, has rolled with a number of punches over the years. He has had a hot and cold relationship with Bentley. In March 2009, Bentley placed a discussion item on the school board’s agenda about the “potential replacement of the superintendent.” He withdrew that item before the meeting took place, however.
Last year, Bentley backed McKinney when he suspended former Hesperia Unified School District police chief Mike Graham after Graham and other district police officers objected to what they said were McKinney’s efforts to prevent the police department from investigating accounting irregularities in Sultana High School student government funds.
An investigation into the matter determined that McKinney had moved to handle the matter pertaining to the missing funds administratively but had not, as the officers alleged, sought to obstruct justice. Bentley supported McKinney in having treated the matter as a personnel issue, and said at the time that McKinney had the authority as superintendent to run the district as he saw fit.
McKinney appears to have dodged a bullet in that two of the district’s current board members, Hardy Black and Anthony Riley, have previously given indication that they would be open to discussing replacing McKinney, and together with Bentley, they would appear to have the requisite political muscle on the five member panel to hand McKinney a pink slip. At this point, however, Bentley has found himself at direct political loggerheads with Black and Riley, making any prospect that they would coalesce into a majority to terminate McKinney remote, at best.

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