Is the EUSD School Board Playing Partisan Politics?

Access to information and change in policy for choosing board’s President warrants closer look.

Delay in receiving information packet?

When Epiphany Prep Charter School’s charter approval was up for a vote, EUSD school board member Jose Fragozo abstained stating he had received his information packet with documents pertinent to the board meeting only immediately prior to the meeting. The rest of the board had days to review the information before the vote. He therefore could not review the materials and make an informed decision. This lack of information meant that Fragozo was not able to properly represent his constituents at the meeting. Fragozo said he made a statement at the previous meeting that he would like the packet delivered to his front door by a district staff member, which is how the other board members receive their information packets. He said they typically receive them days ahead of the meeting allowing ample time for preparation.

Rule Change Made to Exclude Fragozo from Becoming Board President?

The board also recently changed the method by which the board president is named from a rotation system to a majority vote of the board. This involved changing a policy that had been in effect for over 20 years. Fragozo would have been named the next president had the conservative board majority not voted for the change in policy.

When asked why he believed they changed the rules just as he was about to be named board president, Fragozo said, “They don’t want to see the first Latino ever on the EUSD as the President.” All board members but Fragozo are members of the Republican party. He claims members of the board met in violation of the Brown Act to strategize how they might change the board policies which would prevent him from being the board’s president, and that policy changes should have been discussed in an open session. He stated that Superintendent Ibarra, board members Paulette Donnellon and Zesty Harper met in a closed session to discuss these changes, a violation of the Brown Act.

EUSD’s school board seats are supposed to be non-partisan.

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