For Superintendent Max McGee and the rest of the Palo Alto Unified School District, 2017 has been anything but uneventful.

Since the beginning of this year, the district has dealt with the controversial issue of weighted grades, the infamous Paly sexual assault case and changing bell schedules.

The latest criticism for McGee revolves around a payment mishap that will cost the district close to $6 million, according to a Palo Alto Online story from August.

Following last year’s budget shortfall, the district was supposed to enter negotiations to reduce teachers’ raises.

The current dilema was caused by a failure to meet a deadline by which they were supposed to give an official notice to the teacher’s union as to whether or not they would renegotiate teacher contracts.

While admin says it was simply a misunderstanding, the administration did not meet the timeline to request a renegotiation of the contracts.

This mistake could cause spending per pupil to remain stagnant for the second year in a row according to Board President Terry Godfrey.

“We, the Board, had assumed [negotiations] had been reopened. As it turns out our lead negotiator [Scott Bowers] did not officially reopen contract and that’s a mistake,” Godfrey said. “Obviously, we’re not in negotiations. And so legally our only response is to give the teachers the raise. What it means now is the raise is for the next couple of years, we’ll have less money to do the raises, we may have to make other cuts. We don’t really have our financials completely solid yet.”

Many in the community say McGee and the board have made a major error in their handling of the issue.

This mistake has had an adverse impact on the way McGee’s administration is being viewed by the community, with many calling for his immediate resignation.

Max McGee has already said this year will be his last as a part of the school district and that he intends to retire after the year ends.

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Ujwal Srivastava

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