By Marcus Castro
Lamont School District Assistant Superintendent Jose Cantu resigned on Tuesday, March 1. Parents in the Lamont community believe that was the right choice, but say the blame for Lamont schools’ low-academic testing shouldn’t fall solely on Cantu.
“We don’t have nothing against him [Cantu] … It’s just that he’s not the person that is qualified for the job,” said Jose Mireles, of the community group Lamont Parent Partners.
Mireles said that Cantu may have been good with colleagues and a good friend to people in the community, but he wasn’t a good option when it comes to the betterment of students in Lamont.
Questions around Cantu emerged soon after news surfaced that he did not have the proper administrative credentials for the position.
Roberto Gonzalez, also of Parent Partners, said he disagreed with how some in the community were “treating Cantu as a criminal,” adding the issue should have been handled through policies and paperwork.
Those calling for Cantu’s resignation pointed to the fact that test scores in Lamont are among the lowest in the county. That combined with Cantu’s salary of $144,000 a year had many lining up against him.
Rocio Armijo, of Parent Partners, explained that research needs to be done in order to see exactly when the academic levels of Lamont Schools started to drop.
“It’s been this way before he [Cantu] was even here, so I think that we kind of have to do more research before pointing fingers,” said Armijo.
Now that Cantu has resigned, there is a need for a new assistant superintendent for the Lamont School District.
Parents said they want someone who is bilingual for the position, as much of Lamont consists of Spanish speaking residents.
Cantu does speak Spanish, “but we didn’t feel comfortable enough to approach him when we’ve had problems,” added Mireles.
Mireles said better communication between the school and parents is critical. He explained that many parents are intimidated by faculty, so there needs to be an assistant superintendent that can communicate with parents and the community effectively.
Armijo said that parent involvement is key for student success, and in order to get that involvement, the schools need to make the parents feel comfortable.