Chula Vista mayor calls for sweeping changes at Sweetwater Union High School District

Cheryl Cox has little faith in district leadership

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Chula Vista's mayor wants sweeping changes at the Sweetwater Union High School District.

Mayor Cheryl Cox announced during her eighth and final State of the City Address Tuesday evening that she is finally taking a stand against the district.

"I don't think they do have their priorities straight," Cox told 10News before the address.

For the first time Tuesday night, Cox said Sweetwater needs a fresh start.

"I've determined at this point I'm done with this," she said. "I'm done with the bad press."

The San Diego County District Attorney has indicted four of the five Sweetwater trustees in a bribery scandal; 10News has reported on furious teacher rallies during chaotic meetings; and Team 10 uncovered dozens of broken fire alarms in Sweetwater schools that the district failed to fix.

Cox's office has no power over the district. She said she could only lead by example.

"I've been quiet because hoping, number one, the school district's going to take care of its problems," she said.

Cox said that has not happened, so she called for sweeping changes Tuesday night.

That included a new superintendent once Dr. Ed Brand's contract is up this November.

"A new superintendent gives you new hope for a new beginning," said Cox.

All five seats on the board and the superintendent could be replaced by the end of the year depending on the legal system and the upcoming elections.

Cox wants to host a couple of meetings before then "to ask the public, 'Come in with some productive ideas. This is constructive criticism.'"

She said her city depends on the success of the high school district and the people at the top block success.

"I think Sweetwater needs to get their house in order," she said.

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