Letter: School Board is Violating Rights by Excluding Perry

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The recent actions of our School Board majority make me question if they are acting out of ignorance, retaliation or blind trust of our superintendent. Have they violated Dee Perry’s constitutional rights and those of the voting community?

The district counsel, Mark Bresee, advised our School Board to establish a “special committee” that includes 4/5 board members due to the perceived “threat” of Perry “possibly retaining council” over the forwarding of an email that was considered a breach of confidentiality. District bylaw 9124 adopted March 12, 2019, states “Individual Board members other than the president may not seek advice from district legal counsel on matters of district business unless so authorized by a majority of the board.” The actions of the board majority, the superintendent and district’s counsel seem to pose a conflict of interest and are overreaching. Perry questioned the legality of the email received by all board members. The board is attempting to silence Perry by using Attorney Client Privilege and district bylaw 9124, but Perry’s actions appear to be protected by Gov Code 54963.1—a local agency may not take action if one is “making a confidential inquiry…concerning a perceived violation of law…to establish the potential illegality of an action taken by a legislative body. Is this effort an act of retaliation for standing up against the majority, the presidential rotation, the grade bump? Will creating dissention reflect poorly upon our superintendent? Is the counsel offering sound advice? In 2008 in San Diego, according to the CVESD Reporter, Bresee was involved in falsifying documents to cover up crimes by school employees, and in 2010, according to Voiceofsandiego.org, a dispute regarding closed meeting rules and exclusion of a board member over conflicts of interests resulted in counsel being publicly criticized, and requested to resign by the district. An attorney later determined the board member shouldn’t have been excluded.

Is our district and board majority functioning in a manner worthy of our tax dollars? Only if Perry is allowed to fully represent. Have Perry’s rights been violated? What about the voters’ rights who put her in office? By removing her from issues as determined by the board’s discretion, yes, the same ones that voted to exclude Dee, we are not fairly represented. Perhaps we need to buy some crates of tea and throw those into the ocean. Since our district is 90 percent funded by property taxes and our board is the highest authority of the district, don’t we now have “taxation without representation?” What message does this send to students?

Sheri Morgan, Laguna Beach

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  1. Great letter Sheri. I really like Peggy Wolff’s approach accepting whatever a legal services contractor decides is secret. This is not about the lawyer, he doesn’t do anything without being told to do it by the Superintendent. Why have a Board if a contractor working for the Superintendent can not be questioned by elected representatives. Perry was doing her job, Wolff was not. It will soon be made clear this was an attempt to use attorney client privilege and confidentiality rules to silence Perry, and then set her up to be excluded. It would be funny if not such a diversion from education mission. The public records search was coordinated in advance, it was an entrapment scenario by people who take themselves too seriously. Laguna is full over underemployed former over-achievers who are addicted to toxic petty politics. But you have to get off the dance floor and look down at from a perspective that enables you t see who’s doing what to who. Wolff doesn’t do that because she is by her own words floating in the clouds of solipsism from 30,000 feet.

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