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Board Picks Permanent Chief for Rio Schools

June 27, 2003|Amanda Covarrubias | Times Staff Writer

The Rio school board has named interim Supt. Patrick Faverty the permanent schools chief, saying the veteran educator will guide the troubled district into a new era of academic achievement for all students.

Faverty, 54, had served as interim schools chief since March, when former Rio School District Supt. Yolanda Benitez was placed on paid administrative leave while she was investigated on 15 allegations, including insubordination and manipulating low-income parents to keep their children in bilingual programs.

Faverty was appointed Wednesday on a 3-2 vote after receiving the endorsement of the two unions representing teachers and maintenance workers, said board member Henrietta Macias, a Benitez opponent.

"Patrick has so many excellent ideas of how to run the school district," Macias said Thursday. "He's positive all the way and will bring the students back to where they need to be now. Just look at the test scores -- we're at the bottom, but he's going to bring us back to the top where we used to be."

Macias was joined in the majority vote by Ron Mosqueda and Ernest Almanza. Simon Ayala and Anthony Ramos, both longtime supporters of the former superintendent, opposed the appointment.

Faverty was unavailable for comment.

Benitez was fired June 13 after the Ventura County Grand Jury found that she had improperly tried to impose a pro-bilingual education agenda on the largely Latino elementary school district. She had been superintendent for eight years.

On June 18, state officials sent a letter to Benitez saying the district excluded a significant number of Spanish-speaking students from the language portion of achievement tests given last year at four schools.

The letter from the state Department of Education raised questions about whether there was a deliberate attempt to skew the schools' overall performance on the standards-based tests.

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