Letter: School Board’s Identity Crisis

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Does our community deserve a strong or weak school board?

In a Jan. 21, 2019 email, board member Carol Normandin wrote to Superintendent Viloria “the reason the city and the district have a weak board/strong administrator is, so no one has to call their fellow member out on being unqualified for a position. Or shut them down, or take action against them. This weak board system is kept in balance by rotating the president role. So we need to, as a board decides which system we have so it doesn’t waste your time.” Vickers didn’t rotate—is the weak board out of balance?

According to the California School Board Association: “Citizen oversight of local government is the corner stone of democracy in the US. School Boards are to provide direction and oversight for the professionals who manage the day to day operations of the schools. They also provide accountability to the community.”

Is oversight ensured when a member is prohibited from voting based on a legal opinion? Can the board hold the superintendent accountable despite being a weak board and deferring all power? In a Jan. 18, 2019 email, Viloria, to three board members, outlines BP9200 and his opinion of Perry and their differing interpretations of policy. Is it appropriate for the superintendent to be imposing perspective onto board majority and initiating disciplinary suggestions?

A Jan. 24, 2019 email from Vilora to Normandin included information on Claremont USD policy on censure regarding improper conduct. Does that violate policy, certain rights? Is there a pattern here? These aren’t the only emails. Is it appropriate to discuss upcoming policy discussions amongst one member only?

Can the board be accountable to the community when they bypass community concerns expressed through email and at board meetings? Does the board value the time and effort its’ constituents are making to share their concerns about issues? Would the board room be full if the community were not trying to hold the board accountable? If the community were happy about the calendar? The math pathways? The grade bumps? The bell schedules? The censure? The board policy changes? The attempts to silence the one strong board member we have?

Has there been an effort to silence Perry all along because she wishes to be a part of a strong board that guides our community and school district’s vision? Our superintendent is only three years experienced, should he really have carte blanche? Of course not. We are a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Sheri Morgan, Laguna Beach

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