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San Bernardino Schools Chief Delgado to Take L.A. Top Job

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News came as a shock to many. His resignation gets mixed reaction.

By Lee Ragin, Jr. –

Arturo Delgado, the superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District, announced Tuesday that he will become the superintendent of schools for Los Angeles County starting July 1. He had been in the top job in the district since 1999.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint Delgado during a closed session Tuesday afternoon, according to L.A. County spokesman David Summers.

Many members of the district were shocked upon learning that Delgado had been in negotiations with Los Angeles for the position.

School Board members heaped praise on Delgado calling him a “passionate leader who worked tirelessly to improve the academic standing of every child in the district.”

“He’s a solid leader who deserves our praise,” said, board vice president Barbara Flores. “He guided the district through what were arguably some of our most challenging times.”

Delgado served as the district’s leader during devastating budget cutbacks that led to teacher and staff layoffs. His most difficult challenge came when the state designated 11 schools in the district as under performing schools.

“I’m happy for him,” said a school administrator who asked not to be quoted because Delgado’s resignation had not been made public. “But I’m surprised that L.A. would hire someone who leaves behind a mixed legacy – including some of the poorest performing schools in the state - if not in the country.”

In early 2010 The Westside Action Group issued a news release saying the superintendent had done little to further the cause of Black students and the San Bernardino City Unified School District could benefit most from changing its leadership.

“Dr. Delgado should be held accountable because that is where the buck stops,” said Walter Hawkins, a member of WAG.

“We as a community cannot allow this district to continue to struggle with this issue. Right now part of our concern is the rhetoric, blaming the parents and the district turning its back on implementing policy.”

The group, a long existing organization of black men, expressed concerned about the Targeted Instructional Improvement Policy, an effort to improve academic standing of the lowest performing sub-group in the district, black students.

Delgado defended his record and attention to African American students saying:

“We have taken the lead in addressing the needs of African- American students, and their call for my resignation does not take these things into account.”

Delgado, lost his campaign for county superintendent of schools against existing county superintendent of schools Dr. Gary Thomas in the June 2010 election. WAG endorsed Thomas for the county’s top post.

The third of seven children, Delgado grew up in East Los Angeles. He rose to become superintendent after serving as the assistant of human resources.

As superintendent in LA, Delgado will oversee 88 school districts. He said he can affect change at the district level through staff development and obtaining more funding.

The LA County schools have about 2 million students, Delgado said. San Bernardino's district has about 55,000.

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