Natomas USD Superintendent Resigns


Bobbie Plough will leave her post as superintendent for the Natomas Unified School District it was announced this morning.

Plough’s departure is another blow to the struggling school district already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. During her brief tenure as superintendent, Plough has been credited with improving relations between the district, unions and community.
Superintendent Plough has been such an amazing force in the short time she has been with the Natomas Unified School District,” said Inderkum PTSA president Elena Quintero. “I can’t thank her enough for her support in our parent-driven projects and her leadership at the district office.”
Plough has accepted the superintendent position at the Santa Clara Unified School District effective July 1. The announcement of her departure comes one year to the day after Natomas school board members approved her three-year contract. Plough was hired after a national search to replace Dr. Steve Farrar, who retired in 2009, and was the district’s first woman superintendent since unification in 1991.
I am very disheartened to see Mrs. Plough leave Natomas Unified,” Natomas teachers’ union president Cynthia Connell said. “She identified and enacted a number of important cost cuts and we were optimistic about additional changes she might bring about in our district.”
State officials have issued a fiscal emergency declaration for Natomas Unified and are expected to audit the district’s finances in the coming weeks. Should the district run out of cash and be taken over by the state, a state-appointed administrator would replace the superintendent. The uncertainty of her position in Natomas was a factor in Plough accepting the Santa Clara job, according to a press release issued this morning.
“We understand the challenges Bobbie faced when she accepted this assignment, and wish her the best,” classified union negotiator Omega Brewer said.
Santa Clara school board members approved hiring Plough last night. Board members recently met in Sacramento as part of the hiring process to visit the Natomas school district and talk to local school board members, district employees and others from the community about Plough’s work here.
The Santa Clara Unified School District has more than 13,000 K-12 students, and an additional 18,000 students in preschool and adult school. The district’s 56 square-mile area includes neighborhoods in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and San Jose.
The board is saddened to see Bobbie leave,” Natomas school board president Bruce Roberts said. “We understand and support her decision and we will continue in our work to achieve financial solvency for the school district.”
Plans are underway to appoint an interim superintendent for the next several months to lead the district until Plough’s replacement is hired.


  1. Anonymous says

    As a parent of students in this district and as a teacher at one of our local schools, I am saddened by Bobby Plough’s leaving our district. Bobby had the courage to stand up for us, parents, teachers, and students before our School Board who publicly challenged her at Board Meetings. Bobby’s message was simple, celebrate what we have and keep our students in our schools!! Both of which were downplayed by some current Board Members who continue to make our public image negative. Thank You Bobby for your efforts and for supporting learning and instruction! We wish you could stay but understand your choice. We wish you well in your endevours…

  2. Anonymous says

    I’m just wondering if she gets to keep her relocation expenses and if she gets any kind of severance pay. Seems a little like a move a recent Alaskan Governor might make to be honest. I don’t blame her from a personal perspective, but wasn’t the risk of situation clear before she hired on. Have we been hoodwinked for relocation expenses, severance, and a year’s salary? Just sayin’

  3. Anonymous says

    Running away for greener ($$) pastures, no doubt! Just like most people in these positions, their true colors and priorities come out when they can’t handle the tough times!!

  4. Anonymous says

    I am sadden by her impending departure. She seems to be a very good superintendent. She is certainly better than her predecessor! That crook or jackass is one of the reason we are in such a mess!

    I am not happy, but I don’t blame her for leaving.

  5. GetRidOfNUSDboard says

    1st Anonymous…I agree 100%!!! As for the rest, it’s not Bobbie’s fault the Board didn’t allow her to do the job she was hired for!

  6. Anonymous says

    I love it. If she stays, it’s all negative, if she leaves, it’s all negative. In education, you just can’t win with the common taxpayers. They’d prefer she stay on until a state takeover that isn’t her fault kicks her out of a job. She’s not a saint, and doesn’t pretend to be one. She tried her best, it didn’t work out, and now she gets to go to a better district in a nicer area. Which of you wouldn’t do the same?

  7. Anonymous says

    As a teacher in this district it is sad to see her go. She was the best leader we had, really the only time we felt like we had leadership, but I understand why she had to go. The board is set on running this district into the ground and taking all of the teachers, parents and kids with them. We will keep fighting, I hope that when election time come Natomas voters will realize the one constant problem in this district. Thank you Bobbie, in the year that you were here, we felt your support.

  8. Anonymous says

    As a teacher in this district it is sad to see her go. She was the best leader we had, really the only time we felt like we had leadership, but I understand why she had to go. The board is set on running this district into the ground and taking all of the teachers, parents and kids with them. We will keep fighting, I hope that when election time come Natomas voters will realize the one constant problem in this district. Thank you Bobbie, in the year that you were here, we felt your support.

  9. Anonymous says

    Am I missing something? Why is everyone praising her and wishing her luck on her departure? She is bailing on the district. She told everyone she knew what she was getting into and she was going to do the best to see the district through the state takeover crisis. Instead she started looking for another job within 6 months of starting (it takes a few months to go through a hiring process).

  10. GetRidOfNUSDboard says

    Anonymous at 11:12PM – you obviously don’t go to board meetings or are a board member yourself. The board went against just about every recommendations that Superintendent Plough gave to them that could have helped save our district money. And, obviously you’re not that involved in the schools to know just how much of a positive impact she had in just a short time. Also, she was the only person in the D.O. that had a great relationship with the teachers, administrators, and parent leaders.

  11. Ken MacPherson says

    I too am sorry to see Bobbie go. I have taught in this district before General Davies originally left for his own greener pastures. I won’t go through the list of those that followed him and their negatives impacts on this district. Bobbie was different, she stepped into a major mess left by the previous superintendents and she made many recommendations to the school board to help fix the problem. The very same problem this school board said they brought her in to address. Unfortunately, the school board has repeatedly chosen to not follow Bobbie’s recommendations. In doing so the board has committed two very costly errors that this district may never recover from. (without the aid of a state takeover at least.) The first was not to go along with the recommendations of the superintendent that was brought in to fix the mess, and that created the second, the perception (rightly or wrongly) that this school board, won’t fix the problem. This has led many workers (myself included) to see state take over (because it will remove power from the board) as the only viable path to pursue. I say this as a teacher who voted for the concessions that we have made. However, I will never vote for another concession as long as the current board is in place.

  12. Anonymous says

    No matter what Bobbie is or isn’t as a superintendent, her resignation sends a clear message that State takeover IS imminent. I did attend the tale end of a recent meeting about it only a week or two ago, and she denied that takeover was inevitable. I think Suze Orman said it well. “Stand in the truth”

  13. Anonymous says

    Oh Mr. MacPherson…Was it not your union (that you are such a proud and active member of) that endorsed 4 of the 5 current board members in past elections? Please don’t try to mislead others…those board members sit in those chairs because YOUR UNION wanted them there! For you to complain about them being the sitting board members today is a little disingenuous, don’t you think? Look in the mirror before you blame the voters…

  14. Anonymous says

    I am an employee in the district and I do not think state takeover is inevitable because we are constantly “finding” more money stuffed away that usually we didn’t spend on the students, but that magically is enough to keep the central office staffed with directors and asst. sups. Now with the census, more funds will suddenly be enough to keep us afloat, unless the state budget gets worse and if that happens then ALL districts will be “in danger” of takeover. And finally, when both unions refuse to back a single candidate, that should tell people that these people are no longer backed by us. As all politicians, they may have been once backed by some of us, but that’s only because we had to hold our nose and take a leap of faith. I don’t think we should be blamed for past backing, because the current behavior and mistakes are what really matters now. These current board members are fair-weather-participants – they hear what they want to hear. It’s really too bad for the employees at the school sites.

  15. Ken MacPherson says

    Dear Anonymous(May 16, @ 10:33PM), Let me point out that you are right I am a proud and active union member. In that role I work very hard to try to get the resources that we need within this state and within this district to educate our students. I have been working on this in numerous ways, and for many years. CTA is the driving force that attempts to get the resources needed to do the of educating the students of this state, CTA is made up of teachers and at the organizational level mainly by ex-teachers. So go figure, CTA is a bunch of teachers who want to have the resources needed to to their job. That job, has not been easy of late. (K-12 education has lost 20 billion in the last three years alone in this state.) Let me also point out that,when the NTA, Political Action Committee interviewed all six candidates for this past election we were not impressed enough by any of them to recommend to the voters. One of the incumbents who was running for reelection, even went so far to say she would not change anything she had done in the last three to five years while on the board that helped put us in this mess. Imagine that, she would vote again vote to bring Dr. Farrar, and his very costly, and ineffective programs, and need I mention the great land deal, that had the board covering their tracks to the county grand jury? As a student and teacher of history, we need to learn from mistakes. That board member has not learned that, or is unaware of the mess those actions have put this district in. This board seems to put the needs of the charters ahead of the needs of the students in the public school system. Please don’t tell me that the ONE Percent of ADA funds, that the districts receives from the charters makes them public school students. It is time for the members of the school board to put the needs of the public school kids first. Oh, by the way, I at least have enough courage to put my name to my words, I won’t ever hide behind an anonymous label.

  16. Anonymous says

    Mr. MacPherson- You seem confused about charter students. As a parent who lives in this district and pays taxes to the state, the county AND NUSD for various bonds, I find it appalling that you do not understand ADA is not the only generator of school revenue. My child attends a charter school with the oldest building in the district, full of mold and asbestos. The bond and tax money I paid certainly didn’t go to build his school. It went to build your “public” schools. You’re welcome.

    I’ve heard you rant about special ed before as well. Are you aware that every charter in the district pays FAR more into the special ed fund than their students receive in services?

    Perhaps before one speaks out against schools that are successful, one should understand the funding mechanisms of school budgets beyond ADA.

    In addition, you assume that students that live in the district would be “public school” students if they weren’t attending charters. That is not the case. This is not lost revenue to the district, as my son would not attend a district school (nor would many of his classmates) because the district cannot service his educational needs in a “public” classroom. You can’t count up all the children as little ADA pools of money and make assumptions.

  17. Anonymous says

    I would like to comment that most of us teachers and previous students came from the buildings that are mentioned, so we did our time there. Also, I find it elitist to imply that in contrast, NUSD non-charter schools are not “successful” when we have several which have been either Distinguished schools or candidates, and others that our parents think are wonderful schools with terrific teachers, and we didn’t have to skimp on teacher’s salaries to get there. We don’t let our upper level employees take gain or benefit from the classrooms, at the expense of employee well-being and self-respect. It’s really interesting to really hear how parents who seem to benefit from the charter loopholes feel about the rest of us. And how this system that is deflating our district’s finances is being rationalized and justified. I’ve got news: you can get everything and more from the rest of the regular non-charter schools.

  18. Anonymous says

    Wow!! How interesting this discussion has turned out to be. I am wondering if you know that the charter schools really do not pay their way. Mr. MacPherson is right ONE percent of the ADA comes from Charter schools. The building at your school has been maintained by the district all these years at little or no cost to the Charter school. So that means your school is using monies that could be used to improve the education at the “Public school”. So I guess it is time for ALL charters to step up and pay their part. Hmmmm Maybe if everyone paid their way ALL schools in the district would get a fair shot at a providing a good education. By the way if a student dose’nt show up for school there is no ADA for that student, hense no money for the operating budget.
    Interesting huh

  19. Anonymous says

    I certainly did not imply that there are no other schools in the district that are successful. There certainly are other distinguished schools and fabulous schools in our district. Yet, people return repeatedly to bashing charters instead of looking to where the money problems began- with the NUSD board.

    This board has made repeated bad choices, none of which related to charters. I’ve lived in the district 12 years, how can I be the only one that remembers the miscalculation of students when NUSD used Heritage Park in the proposed head count for the district?

    How about that land deal and the following thousands spent on legal fees?

    ADA funds day to day management of a school. It makes perfect sense that a school would keep their ADA on site to pay for students… the problem with district schools is they do NOT get to keep their ADA. The district management keeps a large portion of it for making district wide decisions for all the schools. Buying scripted curriculum, paying for travel, legal fees associated with CTA and improper layoffs- all mismanagement of money and none are student related.

    Hate charters if you want but NUSD board could use a few budget management lessons.

    Maintaining Building N… hmm… well that’s an interesting stat to site since the building is only barely maintained- by the parents who have painted it every year, killed the mice in it every year and glued the carpet back down. Any apartment manager would be a slum lord for providing such “maintenance”.

    And by the way, it is state law that the chartering district must provide a facility for charters- because district parents pay taxes. This isn’t some sort of freebie or mistake on NUSD’s part to treat charters better. It’s the law and NUSD actually doesn’t really meet the requirements of “comparable facilities”

    Anon @7:31- You said “We don’t let our upper level employees take gain or benefit from the classrooms, at the expense of employee well-being and self-respect” I have no idea what you’re talking about… perhaps you don’t either. Have you even seen a salary schedule? Or are you generalizing from some movie or article you read?

  20. Anonymous says

    Anon 10:13: Trick question! My buddies at the charter schools who are miserable and getting paid far less than most teachers in the area, will never get a published salary schedule for public view, because the upper management does not want that information revealed. It would be embarrassing, besides revealing the inequities and shady practices that happen with the employees at the charters.
    As for the “it’s the law” statement, I would respond that ed code is also the law, but charters don’t think it’s so important to abide by those regs, do they? I guess you want to pick and choose what laws to follow, depending on if it benefits your purposes? Hmmmmm. Pretty shady stuff.
    Thank you, Buzz, for a great discussion.

  21. Anonymous says

    Um… charters are exempted from many sections of ed code. That is also in the state law. Did you miss that part when you chose what to read?

    If you have buddies at charters in the Natomas area, they are not getting paid far less. Going rate in our area is 7% less than the NUSD salary schedule. Subtract union dues (which charter teachers do not pay) and you end up at about 3 1/2% less. That is before furlough days, the upcoming concessions and impending state take over worries.

    Most teachers I know are happy for 3 1/2% less but having a job… no pink slips in charters in NUSD. And good teachers keep their jobs, regardless of seniority, union drama or other bizarre district placement.

    Accusations and supposition are interesting Anon 8:03 but don’t make a story unless you back them up with fact.

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