The Anaheim Union High School District’s Great Stone Wall of Non-Transparency

In a 2014 press release, Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Mike Matsuda assailed charter schools, alleging “many operate in the shadows with no transparency, no accountability, and no public review.” In a 2015 memo to the public regarding Measure H school bond oversight, Matsuda pledged “Transparency, oversight, communication-and gratitude-are expectations you can hold us to as Measure H work progresses.”

Matsuda’s claim that charter schools lack transparency is an odd one considering the repeated refusal of his district to comply with or even acknowledge numerous public information requests from OC Daily. In fact, Matsuda was one of the recipients of nearly every public information request.

The first public records request was submitted on Mary 13 to AUHSD Public Information Officer Patricia Karlak, asking for “any and all e-mails, documents, communications provided to Gabriel San Roman since January 1, 2016.” The intent was obtaining the same information provided to San Roman regarding the district’s public screening of an  anti-charter school documentary.

The PRA  also requested for “any and all e-mails and communications dating from May 1 and inclusive of May 13, from Al Jabbar, Mike Matsuda, Patricia Karlak and any other AUHSD employee to Dr. Jose F. Moreno, Ryan Ruelas, Tom Tait, Mark S. Hall, Robert Amsterdam, John Martin and any employee of Amsterdam & Partners LLP.”

The district never acknowledged receiving the PRA and the requested information has never been provided.

On October 14, OC Daily submitted several questions to the district regarding a $20,000 the AnaheimBROS student political club had announced receiving from the California Teachers Association.  The school district never acknowledged or responded to the information request.

On October 26, OC Daily e-mailed Matsuda several questions regarding the use of AUHSD resources to transport AnaheimBROS and CROWN student political club members to an October 24 Anaheim City Council candidate forum – where they acted as cheerleaders for candidate Jose F. Moreno. Karlak and AnaheimBROS faculty adviser Ryan Ruelas were cc’d on the information request. The school district never acknowledged or responded to the information request.

On November 2, OC Daily re-submitted to the district the questions about the use of AUHSD resources to transport Moreno’s student supporters to the candidate forum. The e-mail also asked “Why has the AUHSD been refusing to respond to my press inquiries”?  Once again, the district never acknowledged or responded to the information request.

Also on November 2, OC Daily re-submitted the October 14 information request regarding the CTA’s $20,000 grant to AnaheimBROS. And again, the district refused to respond to the request, or even acknowledge receiving it.

At that point, it was becoming clear the Anaheim Union High School District was deliberately stonewalling public information requests from OC Daily.

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8 comments

  1. Funny how the only thing he responded to was politburo illumination. He ordered a quick name change because he is a true commie.

    Centralized authority doesn’t work, the ussr proved that but Mike Matsuda did learn that lesson. Rather than focus on teaching and learning he has added 200 non teaching positions, and now says the teachers need a pay cut. Of course he convienced the board to give himself and his totally inexperienced yes men a double diget pay raise! This guy knows how to play politics and manipulate a school board but the priorities are out of wack and the charade will be exposed in time.

  2. They should be sued for flagrantly violating public information laws. Unacceptable.

  3. Matsuda sent out a letter to all staff last week that said the auhsd will be in an 8 million dollar deficit this year and that number will grow over the next two years. Blame was pointed at the cost of teachers and staff, charter schools and othe bs. At a time when Jerry Brown’s has increased spending on public education more than any time in history, one must ask how this can happen. Its not happening at the vast majority of public school districts in the state. So what happened here? Well a guy who taught for a couple of years and was never a site administrator, never a district office director, certainly not an assistant superintendent bamboozled the school board into hiring him. He purged all capable people with experience and hired a jv team of butt kissing boys who have a similar lack of experience and has made the main thing his political career not teaching and learning. While most people were on vacationing this past summer he snuck in a 19 percent raise for himself and his kiddie Corp at the district office, now he wants the teachers to take a pay cut to pay for his mismanagement. What a joke.

  4. Retired administrator

    I can confirm much of what astamike said. Matsuda has been a disaster. Every person with experience has left or been forced out. Matsuda has never been even a junior high assistant principal but has a know it all attitude that has alienated almost everyone in the district office. I can’t blame the young men that he has brought up to rubber stamp his ideas because they are not bad people and I would take the pay raise if I were in their shoes but they just don’t have the experience or respect to run a district this complex.

    • I do blame those district administrators they are full of themselves and have no respect for the teachers and administrators at the sites. It is beyond me where this arrogance comes from. People that have accomplished so little should listen to others. At least I have tenure and wait these fools out. Too bad for the administrators because they have two choices. Either jump on board with their liberal agenda and failed ideas or challenge them and get fired

  5. So Anaheim residents should brace for Matsuda and Jabbar to come calling at budget time again. He drives the district into the ground, takes focus off education and makes it all about politics and will want Anaheim taxpayers to bail him out. Sadly tait and Moreno will likely oblige him given all the photos of Matsuda at their private events.

  6. This might sound a little paranoid but Matsuda is going after all real and perceived enemies. I am not comfortable leaving any paper trail back to me. Do you have a p.o. box that I can send you a non traced print out? This is why I am using a fake name and e-mail.

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