Finally, Some Transparency Comes to BUSD

The night started with Mr. Sanchez pulling his name out of contention. Next the audience was invited to speak and my friend, Jason Rearick made a moving statement in my support. Thank you Jason. Then the remaining six candidates were asked three questions and each of us had 3 minutes to respond. Below you will find a statement I worked into my first response.

I believed we were going to have the opportunity to make an opening statement and the statement below was what I had planned. When you read it, I want you to know something, I believed Mr. Sanchez was going to be one of the candidates and I stand by my statement about doing more for this school district than any other candidate, including Mr. Sanchez.

I believe every candidate who came forward tonight has the ability to improve our schools. I also believe that if an objective observer were to listen to the answers tonight, there was one clear choice. The audio recording should be available on the district's website in the next day or two, listen for yourself.

After the "interviews" Dr. Vaccarello asked for a few minutes to gather her thoughts. Then the fun began.

Here's how the tribal council played out:

  1. Mr. Sanchez first suggested that each board member put their top three choices up on the board for everyone to see before any nominations were made. The district's attorney said that wouldn't be appropriate.
  2. Mr. Sanchez nominated his first choice, Mr. Wayne Hackney, husband of the district's technology director. There wasn't a second and the motion died.
  3. Mr. Orozco put my name in nomination and Dr. Vaccarello seconded my nomination. During the discussion, Mr. Orozco and Dr. Vaccarello both said some very nice things and I want to thank each of them. There was not a word from Sanchez or Lara. The vote was 2-2 and my nomination died.
  4. Mrs. Lara nominated her first choice, Mrs. Lyndsey Burcham, also a relative of a former district administrator. Mr. Sanchez seconded the motion and he and Mrs. Lara made comments in support of her. The vote was 2-2 and the motion died.
  5. Mrs. Lara nominated Mr. Hackney a second time and, of course, Mr. Sanchez seconded the nomination. Now Sanchez and Lara had glowing things to say with Orozco and Vaccarello making no comments. Sanchez and Lara voted to approve the nomination, Orozco voted no, and Vaccarello abstained. After the lawyer explained the 2-1-1 result wouldn't produce an appointment, Dr. Vaccarello tried to change her vote in favor of Mr. Hackney. The lawyer explained that the vote was already official and in order for Mr. Hackney to be appointed, he would have to be renominated. Now it was just a matter of going through the motions.
  6. Mr. Orozco went through the motion of renominating me and the vote was again 2-2.
  7. Mrs. Lara renominated Mr. Hackney and during her comments she told us that she supported Mr. Hackney because he doesn't have an agenda. She also said that she liked his life experience. Then she said she thought the board was going to be very young and she wanted his experience. I'll bet Mrs. Lara is younger than I am so I can forgive her for her lack of life experience in making her choice. The vote was 3-1 in favor and Mr. Hackney was nominated, sworn in and seated.

Here are some of my observations:

Mr. Sanchez pulled his name from consideration because he knew if he didn't, I would be appointed by a 2-1 vote. 

Mr. Sanchez and Mrs. Lara were never going to vote for me and they just had to find someone Dr. Vaccarello could support. This is why Sanchez wanted to see everyone's top picks before starting.

Dr. Vaccarello realized Sanchez and Lara would never vote for me and that Orozco was only going to vote for me. 

The administration and the financial supporters of Sanchez and Lara are relieved that I am not on the board.

This won't be the last we see of Mr. Sanchez, although I doubt I will run into him in too many future board meetings. I challenge him to stay connected, involved might be a better word to use, I don't want to be accused of being a conspiracy nut. I'm sure he will run again in two years.

The biggest losers tonight were our kids.


Here's my statement:

Our district’s strengths are its people. Our teachers, classified staff, district office staff, and site administrators are the best around. I think the areas we need to work on are parent involvement, effective use of technology, and administration oversight.

I believe I am the best candidate for the appointment to the board because over the last three years, I have done more than any other candidate to address what I consider to be our district’s weaknesses.

I have done more than any other candidate to involve parents.

  • I’ve brought more parents to the board meetings.
  • I’ve raised funds for our PTAs and other parent organizations.
  • I’ve kept our community informed about what happens here in this board room.
  • I’ve convinced the district to use the website and Internet tools to reach out and communicate with parents.
  • I’ve worked to create an educational foundation in Beaumont.

I have done more than any other candidate to improve the effective use of technology and to bring technology to every classroom. 

  • I asked for and received an agenda item to provide a forum for parents and teachers to have a voice on how to bring technology to every classroom.
  • I’ve worked to improve the district's website.

I have done more than any other candidate to bring oversight to the administration.

  • I have tried to hold the administration to honoring their commitments to kindergarten class sizes.
  • I’ve tried to bring awareness to the dangerous traffic areas around our schools.
  • I’ve requested the district to justify the spending of measure Z money and I’ve tried to keep a focus on the specific projects promised to the voters in measure Z.
  • I’ve requested reinstatement enrichment programs for high performing GATE students.
  • I’ve tried to bring awareness to the ineffectiveness of the Budget Review Committee.

Regardless of who is selected to the board, I will continue to do more. But if I am on the board and I have more access and more influence, I will be able to do much more from within than I can as a parent on the outside looking in.