Censure consume another board meeting

On Tuesday, September 3, the CVUSD school board decided not to censure members Jenny Fitzgerald and Cindy Goldberg after the board discussed the possibility of moving forward with a motion to censure, and on Tuesday September 17, the board also discussed the possibility of a censure of board president Dr. Betsy Connolly.

During the meeting on Aug.20,  the board also decided not to censure trustee Sandee Everett. Everett spoke at an event called “Local Christian Alternatives to Public School” at God-Speak Calvary Chapel where a slide on her presentation stated, “In Germany during the late 1930’s, the STATE used the public schools to promote the discrimination against the Jews…Today the target in America’s public schools are Christians.”

The board meeting went until 1:00 a.m., with multiple items, including the discussion item for the censure of Jenny Fitzgerald, were pushed back to the next meeting due to policy that dictates that a board meeting can only be extended once.

The discussion regarding Fitzgerald’s censures was if the board would denounce Fitzgerald over her presence at the God-Speak event, and her posts on social media. Dr. Craig Everett, the husband of board trustee Everett and community college board candidate asserted that “Everyone will be able to see for themselves how completely dishonest (Fitzgerald was) about Sandee’s remarks. Not sure how you thought you would get away with this.” In a Facebook post Fitzgerald responded, “To your laughable claim that I am in any way being deceptive or misleading, I can only assume you are relying on the very carefully crafted generic disclaimers Trustee Everett included to support your statement.” 

The allegations against Goldberg were that she had a conflict of interest as she is a board member of a separate group, called the Conejo Schools foundation, or CSF, while serving as a board member of CVUSD. The board decided not to continue moving forward with a censure for Goldberg.

The board ultimately decided not to pursue either censure.

On Tuesday September 17, the school board meeting included another censure discussion item, this time targeting Connolly. None of the board members signaled interest in censuring Connolly.

 Board policy and law dictate that the public can bring forward a discussion item, which includes a discussion on censures. Some board members, such as Everett, are arguing for more rigid wording for community complaints about board members to put them on the discussion agenda, “People can say to me please censure Bill (Gorback) and I don’t take that to mean, and so you gotta put it on the agenda” she said.

Dr. Mark McLaughlin, Superintendent to CVUSD stated, “I just want to say Sandee we’re not putting (censure discussion items) on the agenda because this is something that we want to do. This is something that is quite embarrassing, it’s embarrassing to me as a superintendent, it’s embarrassing for my staff, it’s embarrassing for the board, it’s embarrassing for the community, its embarrassing the fact that we’re dealing with this week after week after week” in response to Everett’s remarks.

“The problem is not that we’ve placed the (censure discussion) on the agenda, the problem is that we’re indulging a conversation about something that we see as having no value” Connolly said.

School board trustee Gorback spoke with the Prowler after the meeting on Sept. 17. “ we should have particular criteria that would be censurable and then say, we vote to have an ad-hoc committee for the censure based on this policy this policy this policy, specifically” he said.

Trustee Goldberg also spoke with the Prowler after the meeting. Goldberg had a different opinion over the censures, “Truthfully parents and the general public have the right to come and say whatever they want. Whether or not we agree with them is immaterial” she said.

Sandee Everett denied a request for an interview with the Prowler.

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