Fresno Unified superintendent's request stirs questions

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Superintendent Michael Hanson is requesting to have his performance evaluation done earlier than expected. (KFSN)

Fresno Unified's superintendent is requesting to have his performance evaluation done earlier than expected. The move has some questioning his motives and whether it has anything to do with a federal investigation underway at the district.

Fresno Unified School Board President Luis Chavez said he was notified last week by superintendent Michael Hanson to move his year evaluation up early.

"Just like any employee has a right to their due process, the same applies to our administrators," Chavez said. "So, we're going to be having a conversation about his evaluation for this past school year."

The Fresno Teachers Association is taking issue with what they're calling an unusual move. FTA president Tish Rice has requested it be pulled from Wednesday's agenda. Trustees are taking up the evaluation during it's closed session on September 14.

"I was kind of shocked," Rice said. "Usually the superintendent's evaluation happens every November. I even researched it to make sure I wasn't wrong about that."

FTA doesn't support a positive evaluation of Hanson based on the ongoing federal investigation into whether he illegally granted a multi-million dollar construction project to Harris Construction to build Gaston Middle School.

"To either say we're going to suspend that until this investigation is complete and the findings come out we certainly said on our part that he should be placed on administrative leave and I still stand by that," Rice said.

Chavez said the investigation is separate to his evaluation. The evaluation will look at a series of goals the board has set for the superintendent and whether he's achieved them.

"To me that's irrelevant because again it's his right as an employee to petition the request and we'll have a lengthy robust conversation about his performance," Chavez said.

In a statement provided to Action News, Fresno Unified said Hanson's September evaluation follows earlier than expected results of student achievement tests and financial data.

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