South Bay School District in legal trouble?

2012-01-21 02.05.07Chula Vista- South Bay Union School District Board President Barbara Elliott-Sanders stunned hundreds of parents, educators and community members at the outset of the January 21 board meeting by gaveling down a boisterous crowd and stating in direct violation of law that “…our meeting is to conduct the business of the district. It is our meeting. It is not a meeting for the public.” South Bay residents reacted with displeasure and joined in a chorus of “boos” that appear to represent a community that feels a disconnect with its board members and district administration. The complete quote appears below:

“Speaking as the President of the Board, we are extremely interested in the diversity of the audience and the diversity of the voices to be heard. But I do want to- maybe some of you know this maybe some of you are not aware- that the purpose of this meeting is for the school board to conduct its business. We are a meeting that is happening (boos from audience) We are a meeting, our meeting is to conduct the business of the district. It is our meeting. It is not a meeting for the public.”

A disappointed Southwest Teachers Association (SWTA) President Lorie Garcia stated, “The lack of understanding of the board president regarding the general public’s ownership and control of its local schools is troubling. It shows an unwillingness on South Bay administration’s part to appropriately educate the board on the role and responsibility of a school board trustee.”

Education attorney Fern Steinner explained, “The Brown Act makes it clear that the public has a right to attend and participate in School Board meetings. The School Board is required to conduct its business with very limited exceptions in a transparent open manner.  Any suggestion that the meeting is not a public meeting at which the School Board conducts its business misstates the Board’s status under the law.”

3 comments

  1. Dee McvLean · January 29, 2016

    The board president is right. It is not a public meeting. It is a meeting of the board conducted in public.

    Like

    • powaybogeyman · February 2, 2016

      “We are a meeting, our meeting is to conduct the business of the district. It is our meeting. It is not a meeting for the public.” Clearly this president does not understand open meeting laws. It is no “her” meeting, she does not own the meeting. Although, I sure she thinks that the meeting is her. Fern Steinner has it right. “Any suggestion that the meeting is not a public meeting at which the School Board conducts its business misstates the Board’s status under the law.”
      It is a meeting in which the public has the right to express their concerns about the items before the board. Where the board should considered these opinions and thoughts before making such decisions. This president would be quite content not to have any members of the public attend these meeting. Furthermore, I am sure that she would not be interested in have any of the public concerns express in the meeting because that would be against her agenda of having the decisions made in the back rooms and only have the decisions rendered official in the board meeting.
      This is just another School District that should be investigate by concern citizens and most likely the District Attorney office.

      By the way, Poway Unified School District President Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff said almost exactly the same thing in a special board meeting last week. I wonder if attorney representing the school board is presenting this wording to the boards. Dan Shinnoff of Artiano Shinoff and Holtz, APC represents Poway Unified School district. i wonder who represents South Bay School District?

      Liked by 1 person

      • KM GKerr · March 11, 2016

        I would like to know if both districts have the same legal representatives which would explain the similar wording of both board presidents Elliot-Sanders and O’Connor-Ratcliff regarding the board meetings not being for the public.

        Like

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