AVUHSD Board gets noth­ing done, again

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - By JULIE DRAKE Val­ley Press Staff Writer

LANCASTER — An­te­lope Val­ley Union High School District’s Board of Ed­u­ca­tion met for the first time in more than a month Thurs­day night, and it was business as usual for the four-mem­ber Board — mean­ing noth­ing got done.

The Board voted 2-2, with mem­bers Victoria Ruf­fin and Amanda Par­rell dis­sent­ing, on the three ac­tion items on the spe­cial meet­ing agenda, in­clud­ing a pro­gram that would pro­vide peo­ple con­victed of cer­tain of­fenses the op­por­tu­nity to seek re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in­stead of in­car­cer­a­tion.

The Board is short one mem­ber af­ter the Nov. 4 res­ig­na­tion of former Board

Pres­i­dent Robert “Bob” Davis.

Board Clerk Jill McGrady an­nounced at the start of the meet­ing that the Board had to cut its closed ses­sion short af­ter at­tor­ney Her­bert Hay­den of the Har­ris & As­so­ci­ates law firm en­tered closed ses­sion unau­tho­rized and re­fused to leave.

Hay­den pre­sum­ably at­tended the meet­ing at Par­rell’s

in­vi­ta­tion, al­though she is not au­tho­rized to con­fer with him or at­tor­ney John. W. Har­ris.

“Since he was not au­tho­rized to be here, we had to end our closed ses­sion for to­day,” McGrady said. “We will con­tinue that next week at our next reg­u­lar meet­ing.”

McGrady also ad­dressed com­mu­nity con­cerns about the Board and its lack of of­fi­cers.

Los An­ge­les County Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools De­bra Duardo ap­pointed McGrady Board clerk on Dec. 18 af­ter the Board failed to con­duct an or­ga­ni­za­tional meet­ing on Dec. 17, when Ruf­fin and Par­rell failed to show up. Duardo or­dered the

Dec.17 meet­ing af­ter the Board could not agree on a date for the an­nual or­ga­ni­za­tional meet­ing as re­quired un­der state law.

On Mon­day, all Board mem­bers re­ceived a let­ter from Duardo to clar­ify the of­fi­cer sit­u­a­tion. McGrady asked Su­per­in­ten­dent David Vierra to read the let­ter for the au­di­ence.

Ruf­fin, who par­tic­i­pated via tele­con­fer­ence from the Court­yard by Mar­riott in Ox­nard, ob­jected.

“Dr. Vierra this is not in­for­ma­tion that is on the agenda for the spe­cial meet­ing, and I be­lieve that we’re sup­posed to be dis­cussing only those items that are on the agenda,” Ruf­fin said.

At­tor­ney Jay Fer­now of the law firm Fa­gen Fried­man & Ful­forst, also known as F3, ad­vised Vierra that he could pro­ceed.

The let­ter, dated Jan. 13, states: “As Los An­ge­les County Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools, I have taken a se­ries of ac­tions re­lated to your Board and un­der­stand that there were some con­cerns raised. On (Dec. 13), I was no­ti­fied that you had failed to con­duct your or­ga­ni­za­tional meet­ing within the time­frame man­dated by Cal­i­for­nia Ed­u­ca­tion Code sec­tion 35143.

“Be­cause of that fail­ure, I was re­quired to ex­er­cise my au­thor­ity and call your or­ga­ni­za­tional meet­ing. I did so for (Dec. 17). You again failed to con­duct your meet­ing and elect of­fi­cers on that date.

“At the time that I des­ig­nated the meet­ing date, I ex­pected that the Board would elect its of­fi­cers. Once it failed to do so, there were no longer any of­fi­cers as your pre­de­ces­sor of­fi­cers’ terms had ex­pired. We as­cer­tained that there is no Board by­law or pol­icy that per­mits the suc­ces­sor of­fi­cers to serve be­yond the term, and in­deed, there is a Board by­law that ex­pressly lim­its terms to one year. BB 9100. Again forced to ex­er­cise my au­thor­ity, and in the ab­sence of any of­fi­cers, I ap­pointed the Board Clerk in ac­cor­dance with Ed­u­ca­tion

Code sec­tion 35038. Un­der the BB 9123, the Clerk no­tices and con­ducts the meet­ing. She is the sole of­fi­cer at this time.

“I re­main hope­ful that your Board will move for­ward in pro­vid­ing im­por­tant pol­icy di­rec­tion and gov­er­nance for the District, for the ben­e­fit of the stu­dents.”

McGrady thanked Vierra for read­ing the let­ter.

“I hope that puts to rest any ques­tions or con­fu­sion or con­cern that any­one has,” McGrady said. “(Duardo) is our pre­sid­ing of­fice and she has ruled.”

McGrady then asked for a mo­tion to ad­journ to the PINCO meet­ing. Trustee John Rush mo­tioned, sec­onded by mem­ber Par­rell. Since Ruf­fin par­tic­i­pated via tele­con­fer­ence, the Board took a voice vote. McGrady called on Ruf­fin first.

“No,” Ruf­fin said.

“You don’t want to go to a PINCO meet­ing?” McGrady asked.

“No,” Ruf­fin re­peated. Par­rell also voted no. “Could I just clar­ify with both of you that we have to vote for PINCO so we can spend the money for the PINCO so we can get into PINCO?” McGrady said. “You are aware that we are stop­ping the progress of the school.”

“Are we di­rect­ing with F3 and they don’t have a PO? It’s the same thing, right?” Par­rell an­swered.

‘And you’re mis­in­ter­pret­ing the law,” Ruf­fin in­ter­jected.

McGrady and Rush voted in fa­vor of ad­journ­ing to the PINCO meet­ing. Ruf­fin and Par­rell voted against it. Stu­dent trustee Eli­jah John­son voted in fa­vor.

PINCO, or the Part­ners in Nu­tri­tion Co­op­er­a­tive, al­lows its 38 mem­ber school dis­tricts, in­clud­ing those in the An­te­lope Val­ley and Kern and Inyo coun­ties, to pool their re­sources so that all dis­tricts from the largest to the small­est can save money when pur­chas­ing food to meet stu­dents’ nu­tri­tional needs.

More than 60% of PINCO’s mem­ber­ship is com­prised of smaller dis­tricts. PINCO started in 1989 un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of AV Union High School District, which serves as the lead agency.

The PINCO agenda had two items: pub­lic com­ments from the floor, and re­ceive in­for­ma­tion about the an­nual au­dit for the 2018-19 fis­cal year, which was good, by the way. The in­de­pen­dent au­di­tor pro­vided an un­mod­i­fied opinion, which is the high­est level pos­si­ble and con­sid­ered a clean opinion.

Speaker John Cur­rado asked the Board about the split vote to ad­journ to the PINCO meet­ing and how it af­fects stu­dents.

Be­cause the agenda in­cluded only pub­lic com­ments and the an­nual au­dit, there was no di­rect im­pact to stu­dents. How­ever, the agenda for the Board’s next meet­ing on Thurs­day will have sev­eral pur­chases for food for all of the PINCO mem­ber dis­tricts.

“I can­not be­lieve this Board is not will­ing to ad­dress food for chil­dren,” former AVUHSD trustee Donita Winn said. “This just blows me away. I un­der­stand that tonight’s agenda didn’t have the food pur­chases.”

Winn added that some lo­cal PINCO mem­ber dis­tricts are won­der­ing if they will have food to feed stu­dents.

Ruf­fin and Par­rell also voted against a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the City of Lancaster and An­te­lope Val­ley Col­lege for an al­ter­na­tive sen­tenc­ing pro­gram that would give peo­ple con­victed of cer­tain of­fenses the op­por­tu­nity to seek re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in­stead of in­car­cer­a­tion.

The goal of the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing is for the District, the City of Lancaster and AV Col­lege to de­velop and im­ple­ment an ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram de­signed to pro­vide in­di­vid­u­als who have been charged with and/or con­victed of crim­i­nal of­fenses with the ed­u­ca­tion and skills nec­es­sary to be­come a con­tribut­ing mem­ber of so­ci­ety, ac­cord­ing to a de­scrip­tion.

Ruf­fin and Par­rell also voted against two pro­vi­sional in­tern­ship per­mits for two spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers. The per­mits al­lows school dis­tricts to fill an im­me­di­ate staffing need with in­di­vid­u­als who are work­ing to­ward their teach­ing cre­den­tial. Teach­ers who work on a pro­vi­sional in­tern­ship per­mit, also known as a PIP, get paid as a teacher and can earn ben­e­fits. Stu­dents also ben­e­fit from hav­ing the same teacher in the class­room rather than dif­fer­ent sub­sti­tute teach­ers.

The Board voted on both pro­vi­sional in­tern­ship per­mits at the same time.

Ruf­fin mo­tioned for the pro­vi­sional in­tern­ship per­mits be tabled.

“I would like to ta­ble it so that the Board can de­cide when we are go­ing to have a re­or­ga­ni­za­tion so that we can set up Board meet­ings for the year and be able to ap­pro­pri­ately con­duct business be­cause this agenda has not been ap­proved by the Board, and that takes a Board ma­jor­ity,” Ruf­fin said.

(There is no le­gal re­quire­ment for the Board to adopt the agenda be­cause it is not in the Board’s by­laws. Thurs­day’ agenda did not in­clude an ac­tion item for the Board to adopt it.) Par­rell sec­onded Ruf­fin’s mo­tion. “I think it would be very dif­fi­cult for our teach­ers to put it on hold be­cause it seems to me that we need to move for­ward with it and give them the as­sis­tance that they need so they can fin­ish their cre­den­tial­ing,” McGrady said.

The Board voted 2-2 to ta­ble the pro­vi­sional in­tern­ship per­mits, with McGrady and Rush dis­sent­ing. The Board then voted 2-2 with Ruf­fin and Par­rell dis­sent­ing to ap­prove the pro­vi­sional in­tern­ship per­mits.

Ruf­fin and Par­rell pre­vi­ously voted in fa­vor of pro­vi­sional in­tern­ship per­mits last year at the June 17 meet­ing, for a math­e­mat­ics teacher and a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher; at the July 25 meet­ing for a chem­istry teacher and a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher; and at the Sept. 12 meet­ing for two spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.