Stockton Unified’s governing board will discuss several important — and possibly contentious — issues at its meeting Tuesday night.
The governing board’s meetings, which are held at the district’s board room in the Arthur Coleman Jr. Administrative Complex on South Lincoln Street near the downtown waterfront, are open to the public and can also be live streamed in both Spanish (here) or English (here). Meetings start at 4 p.m.
Here’s what to watch out for at this week’s meeting:
Some trustees look to oust Flores as president
The agenda item that’s most likely to draw heated discussion is the call from trustees Cecilia Mendez and Alicia Rico to replace AngelAnn Flores as board president.
Flores was elected president by the board in December following the 2022 General Election, taking over the gavel from Mendez and marking a significant shift in school district politics. Over the last few years, Flores has often acted as the lone dissenting vote in the passing of myriad controversial legislation, including a deal that saw the district purchase air purifiers with federal COVID-19 dollars that state investigators described as fraudulent and the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office is investigating.
Mendez said it was necessary to include the item on the board’s agenda because she and Rico, as well as the community, are concerned with Flores’s behavior as president. Though Mendez did not specify which actions by Flores she was referring to.
“I have received an overwhelming amount of phone calls from parents and staff,” Mendez told Stocktonia in a statement Friday evening. “Her behavior has an impact on the board and the district. This is an opportunity for the community to voice their concerns and suggestions.”
In turn, Flores described the move by Rico and Mendez as a form of harassment and the continuation of a “chaos, distraction and propaganda” campaign leveled against her.
“They are just not accepting the fact that I am the board president. They are not happy about that,” Flores told Stocktonia Friday, adding the reason is because her leadership stands in direct contrast to theirs and that people are being held accountable.
Trustee Rico told Stocktonia Friday afternoon that she was unavailable to comment until Monday. On Monday, Rico once again said she was unavailable.
Stockton Unified to discuss district attorney investigation
Trustees will discuss the district’s cooperation with an investigation by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office into possibly fraudulent financial activity within SUSD.
The California’s Financial Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) conducted a year-long investigation, known as an “Assembly Bill (AB) 139 Extraordinary Audit,” into the district’s fiscal practices that ultimately found evidence of possible illegal activity.
State investigators released a report in February that described a contract procured by the district to purchase air purifiers with federal COVID-19 dollars as fraudulent. The San Joaquin County Office of Education has notified State Controller Malia Cohen, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and San Joaquin District Attorney Ron Freitas of the report’s findings. County District Attorney Ron Freitas announced last month that his office was investigating the state’s audit findings.
“Our children are our most important resource. Their education and the environment in which they learn is one of my most pressing priorities,” Freitas said in his first public statements since the release of the FCMAT findings. “Make no mistake, any attempt to commit fraud on the backs of our children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Other findings by state investigators include possible Brown Act violations by the district’s Board of Education, that trustees and the superintendent on occasions did not follow board policies and the law, apparent conflicts of interest and abuse of power.
Stockton Unified Superintendent Traci Miller also pledged — the same day the DA announced his office was investigating SUSD — the district’s cooperation with any outside investigations being conducted.
“We welcome the opportunity and we are happy to have them come in and do an outside investigation.” Miller said. “If there are issues inside this organization that need to be dealt with, if there are adults in this organization that are doing something on the backs of our children, they need to we need to deal with that.”
Other noteworthy agenda items:
- Trustees will vote to approve a list of community members that will makeup an interview panel to “provide valuable input into determining the qualities” of the school district’s next permanent superintendent. The Superintendent Search Stakeholder Interview Panel will take part in superintendent candidate interviews on May 19 and May 20.
- Susana Ramirez, interim assistant superintendent of the district’s Educational Services Department, will give an update presentation on COVID-19 educational funding known as ESSER III.
- Trustees will also discuss if the district will potentially live stream district for all of its governing board standing subcommittees. Earlier this year, the district voted to live stream its public meetings.
Mendez cannot specify what behavior of Flores troubles her, as doing so would point to her own culpability to the criminal fraud and malfeasance that SUSD is being investigated for. As for receiving phone calls, I’m sure Anthony Silva and the other former board members are quite concerned!
This just smells of the 209 Times, using Mendez and Rico to publicly harass and humiliate Flores. If they successfully vote Flores out then I hope the state steps in and takes over the district and its board. Dirty politics in SUSD has been the norm for way too long; parents and taxpayers on both sides of the aisle need to wake up, stand up and put a stop to it. It is immature, it is disgusting and it needs to stop.
This has the fingerprints of former board member, Anthony Silva and 209 Times’ Motec Sanchez. Both continually try to use SUSD as their own ATM, all the while trying to take down those that have the best interest of SUSD in mind. This is possibly a last ditch effort on both of their parts to quiet someone who is privy to a lot of information they don’t want out. Too bad they both couldn’t crawl back under the rock from where they came, and nobody would miss them.
I thought Sanchez’s performance last night was quite telling. Regardless of his claim not to care what happen with the recall vote, it’s clear that he and Silva are the ones who initiated it. Sanchez knows that if Zulueta replaced Flores as president, he’d be able to keep the $141k position that he extorted from the last superintendent
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