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Ex-principal calls allegations against him political, costly Robert Moreno | Sat, Aug 23 2014 12:00 PM

A former Sweetwater Union High School District principal said misconduct allegations brought against him by teachers were politically motivated.

The allegations spurred a $50,000 investigation that resulted in the district taking no action toward Robert “Bobby” Bleisch, a former Castle Park Middle School principal who faced a host of anonymous allegations earlier this year.
District spokesman Manny Rubio said he couldn’t discuss the nature of the allegations since it’s a personnel matter.
Rubio said about 70 people, including teachers and district employees, were interviewed for the investigation over a six-week period. Bleisch was made aware of the findings July 28.

Although the allegations remain anonymous, Castle Park teacher Diane Ince publicly accused Bleisch of creating a hostile working environment and several media outlets reported from sources that Bleisch had allegedly  misused Associated Student Body funds.

Granger Jr. High School teacher Jennifer Cochrane-Shultz and teacher Kris Elam spoke out at school board meetings saying that they heard about the ex-principal sexually harassing colleagues, although no one had come forward.
 “They (accusers) had a campaign to discredit me which is not much different than a political campaign to attack an opponent,” Bleisch said.

Bleisch, 46, said he became the target of the Sweetwater teachers union because of his involvement with Stephen W. Hawking Charter School, a pre-K-12 charter that was to reside on the campus of Castle Park Middle.
Bleisch said it was a small group of teachers who opposed the charter that went after him.

“There’s no question that in my mind this charter school had everything to do with the smear campaign and with this investigation,” he said. “When you’re talking about people that were disgruntled on the campus, you’re talking about five people. Five teachers that were allowed and actually encouraged to continue their agenda and try to motivate other teachers to turn against me.”

Sweetwater Education Association President Roberto Rodriguez said that he just learned about the investigation results when contacted by The Star-News for an interview.

He said he  couldn’t comment on the results until he read the final report.

However, Rodriguez said the charter school wasn’t the sole reason for the accusations.

“I would say that they were probably much more serious complaints from staff members than just the charter school,” he said. “I don’t think you can just point at the charter school.”

The whole ordeal, Bleisch said, cost him about $50,000 of sick time and personal time used, and about $10,000 in attorney fees.

Bleisch’s attorney, Bob Ottilie, said the accusers put their own personal agendas before the kids at the school.

“This was a man who was changing children’s lives at that school, yet certain individuals attempted to derail this man,” Ottilie said. “It’s a shame that the district went without Bobby’s services for about five months.”
Castle Park science teacher Daniel Frank said he believes there was a conspiracy to get Bleisch out.

He also said Bleisch’s presence is missed on campus.

“You had an inspiring leader, you had a guy who made it so fun to be here and he’s gone,” Frank said. “The school is deflated.”

Bleisch said he had learned about the allegations when he was reassigned to the district office on Feb. 11.

He said initially he thought he was being called into the district office to discuss the charter school because he had requested a meeting with then-superintendent Dr. Ed Brand to express concerns of not being allowed to promote the charter school.

But that wasn’t the case.

“That’s when I had first found out that an anonymous letter had been sent by somebody to the district and that they had made the decision to reassign me,” he said.

Bleisch said he wanted to promote the charter school because he wanted to clear up any misconceptions that were being spread about the charter school.

Bleisch described the accusations as “devastating” and said it took a toll on his  family.

He said his mother took the accusations hard and his daughter cried when she saw Bleisch’s name in the local news.
Bleisch said if he were guilty of any wrongdoings, he wouldn’t have a clean record.

“A lot of the things that they were saying were kind of procedural things that I had supposedly done, but yet that made no sense because I was never grieved one time by the teachers union in the three years I was there. ”

“If the teachers felt the school was not a positive culture and they felt that we were doing all these wrong things, how come they didn’t grieve me?”

Rodriguez said the union only files grievances if there are contract violations.

Bleisch said the anonymous letter of accusations and the reassignment to the district office took him by surprise.

Bleisch submitted a resignation letter Feb. 18 that was effective at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

Bleisch said he resigned from his position because the school board had intended to demote him. In his resignation letter, Bleisch also indicated he was resigning to pursue an advanced degree, which he said he is.

He also left the door open to return to the district and said he doesn’t know what his plans are now.

“The old school board did take action to have him back as a classroom teacher if he does decide to come back,” Rubio said.

Rubio said Bleisch is currently on an unpaid leave of absence with the district.

Bleisch said he requested to see the final report of the investigation but the district didn’t allow him to see it.

He said the district told him  that it wasn’t necessary since they concluded no action was being taken.

Rate This Article 17 vote(s)
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Elevation Says:

Wed, Aug 27 2014 06:09 PM

Mr. Chapell and Mrs. Galvez are both virtuous leaders in their community who speak the truth about the issues that need to be addressed with solutions as well. Educators need to continue to make the needs of the students and parents the top priority in Sweetwater.


Eric Chappel Says:

Tue, Aug 26 2014 11:23 PM

I have to say that I am very disappointed by the comments on this site. Most of them seem to be based on nothing but conjecture and lack any foundation of factual information. The attack on Mr. Bleisch's character is ridiculous and seems to be nothing more than a distraction from the real problems we are dealing with. We've had board members who have acknowledged their part in criminal activities and have left this district in disarray to say the least, why aren't we talking about that? Mr. Bleisch was doing great work at CPM, I can personally attest to that. Furthermore, the numbers don't lie; look at the results under Mr. Bleisch's administration in comparison to previous years. If the staff was not happy with him or his approach, they should have followed the established procedures of recourse. Instead, "someone" anonymously filed these misconduct allegations that have wasted money, dishonorably attacked a good principal's character, and most importantly destroyed all the positive work being done at CPM. The students are the ones that are really being hurt by all of this. Let's all grow up here and come together to fix this district. Put this behind us, focus on eradicating the corruption within our school district and give the students the education they so desperately need and deserve. We have failed for too long now, we need to put our differences aside and focus on the future. Respectfully, Eric Chappel.


anniej Says:

Tue, Aug 26 2014 06:11 PM

Elevation - you know I am getting old, and perhaps have skipped a beat or two but,,,,,, I do not recall calling into question Mr. Moreno's reporting. I was simply recommending that you give the report to Mr. Moreno or link the readers to the report that states Mr. Bleisch was cleared, as it is important to you.

For some strange reason the Charter School situation and the alleged investigation seem to have been combined in your mind. Again, this is just me, but I see them as 2 separate issues, one of them not my concern, and NONE OF MY BUSINESS - the other, my tax dollars, and how they are spent (Charter), that elevation, is my business, in my opinion.

Personnel matters regarding an employee are CONFIDENTIAL, and rightfully so.


Elevation Says:

Tue, Aug 26 2014 05:29 PM

Disappointed in Anniej's last post not believing Moreno's credible reporting. All you need to AnnieJ is email the district, ask if the investigation is complete, and what the findings were.

As for Susan, it's too bad you haven't responded with my request to meet up. Just think off all the information I can share with you! Besides blogger evidence, I can show you all the requests for all investigations on Bleisch since last July that EnsenadaMaria orchestrated, which all resulted in no disciplinary action or findings! It gets better! I can even show you the tort with at least a dozen names on it, most of them being reader bloggers. We can exchange info and perhaps you can write a credible story that will generate attention to your business! I can give you the benefit of the doubt and believe you are an objective journalist :-))))


integrity Says:

Tue, Aug 26 2014 10:07 AM

Susan, are you positive you wanted to comment on article that you did not write? I'm looking forward to your next article regarding this Robert Bleisch situation, now that the investigation is over. Better yet, wait six months and and maybe you can reuse your title 'Castle Park Middle School principal punches back!!'


Cowboy Curtis Says:

Mon, Aug 25 2014 10:19 PM

Dollar Short Day Late-You posted the word SUED. You said the secret word.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxMZgeBlqzQ


anniej Says:

Mon, Aug 25 2014 10:17 PM

Ms. Luzzaro - just my opinion, but I would NOT meet up with Ms./Mr. elevation. Perhaps elevation might want to paste the document stating Mr. Bleisch was cleared on one of his/her comments on this story. That would put this issue to bed. Curious as to why Mr. Moreno did not include eluded to document as part of the story?


anniej Says:

Mon, Aug 25 2014 10:10 PM

educ8te - upon reading several of the comments I did some research and can not find where the District cleared Mr. Bleisch. I found an agenda item which indicated he was now a teacher, but found no comment, no press release, no announcement stating he was cleared. Perhaps you could paste the document stating the District cleared Mr. Bleisch of the charges he was investigated for, and that would put the issue to rest. It was not my understanding that the investigation had anything to do with the Charter.


Dollar short... Says:

Mon, Aug 25 2014 08:23 PM

Used....should be sued...


Day late... Says:

Mon, Aug 25 2014 07:55 PM

...dollar short. This is all water under the bridge. Bleisch is fortunate the Granger folks never used his and the district's ----. $70,000 would have been a drop in the bucket.


educ8te Says:

Mon, Aug 25 2014 07:08 PM

Susan Luzzaro, will you now publish an article about Mr. Bleisch being cleared of ALL the false allegations, so much so that he didn't even warrant a letter in his file?

You are, after all, an objective journalist without a political agenda, right?


Elevation Says:

Mon, Aug 25 2014 06:49 PM

Susan Luzzaro is back! Awwwww yeah!!!!

Who or what I am is completely irrelevant to this news story. What information I post however is completely on the subject and accurate. I wonder Susan, how come you didn't write a story about this topic on the San Diego Reader?

Anyways, tell you what. I'll let you know who I am and meet up with you somewhere. I'll reveal to you my evidence of reader bloggers identities, as well as my own identity, if you confirm the bloggers identities and reveal theirs. After all, they didn't list their names next to their slanderous comments either ;-)

What do ya think Susan? Let's do this :-)))


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