Fullerton School Board
The Fullerton School District is governed by an elected board of five trustees: Hilda Sugarman, Beverly Berryman, Ellen Ballard, Minard Duncan and Lynn Thornley.
This group currently provides cover for something called The Fullerton Collaborative and is known for forcing parents to by overpriced laptops to avoid having their kids sent to other schools by the educrats.
Scott Moxley over at the OC Weekly is reporting on the case of a former Fullerton School District “recreational aide” named Emmanuel Moran who has been sentenced to 70 months in federal prison for possessing and distributing graphic kiddie porn. Apparently his computer contained thousands of images, and hundreds of videos.
Apparently Moran was employed by the FSD between 2009 and 2011.
No word on whether he was a good recreational aide.
According to Tracy Woods of the Voice of OC(EA), here, a bit of a dust up is occurring at Fullerton High School over a student constestant who was yanked offstage during something called a “Mr. Fullerton” competition by Assistant Principal, Joe Abell. The kid’s offense? Apparently he told the audience that he hoped he could find Mr. Right, and that he hoped in ten years gay marriage would be legal in California. From the Voice of OC(EA):
According the the district’s statement, “an Assistant Principal removed a male student from the stage during the Mr. Fullerton competition for making what the Assistant Principal believed to be a statement that was off script and not pre-approved.”
It’s good to know that the justification for this errant behavior was that a student had deviated from a script pre-approved by one of our esteemed educrats. We wouldn’t want anybody being able to think on his feet, now would we?
FHSD Superintendant George Giokaris has sent out a letter of apology for the inappropriate behavior of Mr. Abell, given that the kid broke no school rules. That’s great, but the damage has been done. Meanwhile, I congratulate the unnamed kid for standing up for his Constitutional rights.
UPDATE: As noted in the comment from Chris Thompson below, he did not learn about the Beechwood situation (whatever it is) from FFFF. This was my error. I misread the following comment made by Thompson in yesterday’s post:
For clarity’s sake, I have NOT been briefed on any aspect of this story beyond the information which has been made publicly available in the meeting posted here.
I read this to mean that he had not been briefed at all. I do not know if he had an independent briefing from Hovey, but he was actually at the meeting in question. My mistake. I have edited the text below.
In the past few days in Fullerton we have witnessed the usurpation of public sovereignty by government employees and contractors who seem to believe it is their right, not our representative’s, to determine what sorts of information the duly elected representatives are, or are not permitted to see.
First, was the protracted saga of Fullerton City councilman Bruce Whitaker, who for seven moths has been trying to get access to the video of FPD cops beating Kelly Thomas to death. This is a pretty reasonable request, you would think, given the fact that the cops have watched and re-watched the video (Acting Chief Dan Hughes says he’s seen it 400 times); it’s been viewed by the DA; it’s been watched by Cicinelli and Ramos’s lawyers; apparently it’s even been watched by Ron Thomas, father of the dead man. But for some reason the City Manager and City Attorney believe they have the authority to deny access of this public document to Bruce Whitaker, and have used the majority vote of the Three Dim Bulbs to continue to deny Whitaker access.
This is just an outrageous usurpation of the authority that accrues to elected officials by virtue of their popular election. Despite what the bureaucrats and their die-hard elected supporters believe, the sovereignty invested in the elected is indivisible and should never be confused with the practical exigency of majority rule that determines policy and decides the quotidian issues of managing a city.
And then, we have the very recent sad spectacle of a Fullerton School District trustee, Chris Thompson, not being adequately briefed on a matter involving a teacher at Beechwood Elementary School – a matter so serious that the Fullerton police were called in to investigate it, and an emergency parent meeting held. Whatever is going on, the Superintendant, Mitch Hovey decided that the trustees didn’t need to know about it.
The question of whether other trustees besides Thompson were briefed remains to be ascertained, and if so that would make matters even worse.
But here’s the really bad part. According to Thompson: Dr. Hovey informed me that he had been advised by the district’s law firm as to what information he could and could not give to the board members. He did confirm that he knows more than we do.
Say what? That law firm doesn’t work for Hovey; it works for the Board of Trustees who hired them. It has no business collaborating with the Superintendent to decide what information can and can’t be parceled out to the Board. And anybody who doesn’t grasp this basic tenet shouldn’t be on the Board or work for it, either.
As Assemblyman Norby pointed out in his newsletter, it is both the right and the responsibility of elected officials to have reasonable access to public property and documents in order to do their jobs. The Legislative Counsel for the State of California said so. This precept is all about accountability and responsibility in our representative democracy.
So why is this basic concept being flagrantly flouted by Fullerton’s bureaucrats? Who is in charge here, indeed?
An emergency parent meeting was called at Beechwood school last night to explain that a teacher had been placed on administrative leave and that the police department was conducting an investigation into…well, something they’re not allowed to tell us about. The Chief was adamant that there was no evidence that a crime was committed or that any students were involved, which makes you wonder what he’s “investigating” in the first place.
It’s interesting to watch Superintendent Hovey and interim Police Chief Hughes struggle with a new-found interest in transparency, releasing only enough information to scare people about what the teacher might have done. Parents in the room didn’t seem to appreciate the lack of detail. One mother even came to tears trying to figure out if anything had happened to her own child (25 minutes in).
An attentive resident brought us this video of the meeting:
UPDATE: School Board Trustee Chris Thompson posted this comment addressing the question of what the board currently knows about the investigation:
I do not mind being held accountable. For clarity’s sake, I have NOT been briefed on any aspect of this story beyond the information which has been made publicly available in the meeting posted here. I have made it clear to Dr. Hovey that I believe that fact is inhibiting my ability to do my job as a trustee. Dr. Hovey informed me that he had been advised by the district’s law firm as to what information he could and could not give to the board members. He did confirm that he knows more than we do. As the law firm’s primary role is to limit the districts liability, there is no surprise there. Unfortunately, my role is to be 1/5th of an independently elected body whose job it is to ensure that our district does the right and smart thing, and I cannot very well do that if I am “managed” by the district’s lawyer. I believe that the theory is that if the board members are informed of the details of the investigation prior to the conclusion of the investigation that our impartiality will be brought into question if any decisions need to be made by the board as a result of the investigation. I don’t buy it. The people elected us to oversee this government entity and the entity itself is preventing us from knowing the details of what is going on within our own walls. At the risk of sounding self-important, I thought we were in charge.
Having said that, I would not personally use the phrase cover-up at this point. I will not quietly sit by uninformed for any extended length of time. This situation is three days old and we are talking about an elementary school. The individual who is the focus of whatever it is we are investigating has been administratively removed from the classroom and we are being told that there is zero evidence of any direct impact to children. My first step is really what I am doing here. Making it known publicly that I think it is a mistake to withhold the details of the investigation from the board.
Ostensibly, the board would be able to offer some comfort to the community…or some guidance to management about we believe we should proceed. I have no idea if I even agree that there should be an investigation.
As a final comment, I want make it clear that I believe it is exceedingly likely that both Mitch Hovey and Dan Hughes are doing what they believe to be best for the children and the community. I also believe that it is my job to review all of the knowable circumstances in order to determine whether I concur with Dr. Hovey’s actions. I have no way of doing that now.
The idiots who run FSD agreed to pay some chucklehead named Rudy Ruetigger $2000 as a motivational speaker at an August management retreat. We reported about that, here.
Ruetigger, a shameless self-promoter actually talked somebody into making a fictional movie account of his pathetic football efforts at Notre Dame.
Despite immediate ridicule, the FSD stuck to their guns.
Those guns backfired blanks today as it was reported that Rudy was a stock scammer who’s been busted by the SEC.
What sort of lessons were learned by FSD management at this retreat? Maybe Superintendent Mitch Hovey or one of the pathetic Trustees who voted for this will travesty will stop by and enlighten us.
The Fullerton School District had the summer off while our attention was diverted to more important matters. Under that cover and with the convenient assistance of closed session, the Board handed a ridiculous $35,000 cash settlement (our money, not theirs) to a previously fired six-figure employee who didn’t like getting terminated.
Lisa Reynoso is an ex-Director of Nutrition Services who presumably neglected her job duties so badly that the district took on the daunting task of actually terminating her employment and replacing her with someone better.
The board had been wanting to fire Ms. Reynoso for years, but the first attempt at some sort of action in 2007 was overturned by the Personnel Commission, a crazy union invention in which a dubious mix of unelected and unaccountable bad-employee sympathizers actually have power above and beyond the school board itself.
So the lunch lady’s tenure was extended by a few years, which was more than enough for her to earn herself another termination by doing something else bad. We don’t know what she did this time, but anyone who’s tried the meatloaf knows that the bar is pretty low in a grade school cafeteria.
Did the board take charge and let her go this time? No. Our spineless representatives took the easy way out and gave her a parting settlement instead. At the taxpayers’ expense, of course.
It’s lost on these unprincipled, short-sighted administrators that handing cash to an ex-employee who doesn’t deserve it only encourages future bad apples to pursue the same jackpot. Shampoo, rinse, repeat, waste money, hope nobody notices.
The scam was ultimately abetted by the spineless “ayes” of board members Bev Berryman, Janny Meyer and Hilda Sugarman in closed session, with Chris Thompson dissenting.
The Fullerton School District administration hires Rudy. Because sometimes ya just need $2000 bucks worth of little clear focus, inspiration and motivation.
Or they could have just rented the movie from Netflix for a couple bucks.
Aren’t ya just sick and tired of watching our city council continue vote on things because they say it’s “mandated.” I can think of dozens of times hearing O’l Doc Hee Haw holler “we don’t have a choice cause it’s man-dated” or “it’s the law.” Now, when was the last time you ever heard of any city councilman going to jail because he voted his conscience against something really stupid?
The reality is that our allegedly conservative Republican political representatives are indulging their own high price, big-government sentiments, and hiding behind policies established by one of the most liberal legislatures in the nation – and of course continually giving away the store to public employee unions.
Friends, the next time you hear someone say “it’s mandated” or, “it’s the law” tell ‘em to prove it. And proving it doesn’t mean saying it’s true because you heard it from the City Attorney who is shilling for some staff make-work project or other.
Here is the Fullerton’s own Chris Thompson in rare form on the only local radio show in the United States with more than one million daily listeners:
We fielded all sorts of bitter accusations from teachers when FFFF handed out our list of teacher and administrator pay at this week’s teacher rallies. Responses ranged from the simple “the list is garbage” and “my brother does not make that kind of money” all the way to “the District distorted the figures because they’re against us.”
Yes, we explained that the numbers came straight from district HQ (Here are details, in case you’ve missed it: FJUHSD Salaries over $90,000 and FSD Salaries over $90,000.) But some of the chanting unioneers could not be swayed.
Show us your pay stubs from the 2009-2010 school year! If you can prove that your salary was overstated in our flier, we’ll go back to district HQ and take them to task on your behalf.
Otherwise, we’ll just go with what we already know: this list is 100% true and correct.