Voters in Fresno Unified have entrusted the school board with more than a half-billion dollars in bond money. Measure Q passed in 2010 for $280 million. Measure X passed in 2016 for $225 million. Both bonds have an oversight board to make sure the construction funds are spent appropriately.

Politics 101

David Taub

The Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee is supposed to have 15 members. Constant vacancies make even drawing seven members to a meeting a challenge.

Among the past five meetings, two fell short of having the six members required for a quorum set by the committee’s bylaws.

Each of the seven school board trustees appoints two committee members, and the district superintendent selects the chairperson.

School board president Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas says that poor attendance isn’t necessarily a problem.

“I don’t think this is interfering with the conduct of business. They are still having meetings. They are in an advisory capacity. We are asking people for their time and service. I appreciate the work they do,” Jonasson Rosas said.

Jonasson Rosas also notes that bond spending and oversight ultimately rest with the school board.

Tal Cloud, political director of the Lincoln Club of Fresno, said the oversight committee is the public’s eyes and ears.

“It benefits the school district to do what they want when people don’t show up,” said Cloud, who publicly opposed Measure X. “When people don’t show up, the district can ramrod whatever they want through.”

But Cloud acknowledged that it is hard to find people willing to serve on the committee.

The Fresno Unified school board will vote on re-appointing Guillermo Moreno to the committee Wednesday night. He is the choice of Trustee Valerie Davis. Moreno is best known perhaps for hosting a radio show on PowerTalk 96.7 FM.

Last month, the board approved Inez Hill (pick of Trustee Cal Johnson).

GV Wire originally reported about board attendance in November 2016. In that story, Moreno missed 13 meetings in four years. His record has improved — he’s shown up to five straight meetings, something he attributed to GV Wire’s story.

But overall attendance has not improved. Here is a look at who has and hasn’t shown up to meetings since our first report:

Meeting date Present Not present
2/15/2018 Barbara Steck (chair)

William Clark

Michael Lopez

Jose Mejia

Guillermo Moreno

Bruce O’Neal

Dominic Papagni

 

Jamee Moltini

Chuck Riojas

Dennis Zeuner

(5 vacancies)

11/08/2017 (no quorum) Barbara Steck (chair)

William Clark

Guillermo Moreno

Bruce O’Neal

Dominic Papagni

Michael Lopez

Jose Mejia

Jamee Moltini

Chuck Riojas

Dennis Zeuner

(5 vacancies)

8/22/2017 (no quorum) Barbara Steck (chair)

William Clark

Guillermo Moreno

Bruce O’Neal

Dominic Papagni

Michael Lopez

Jose Mejia

Jamee Moltini

Patricia Pointer

Chuck Riojas

Michele Rodriguez

Dennis Zeuner

(3 vacancies)

4/25/2017 Barbara Steck (chair)

William Clark

Guillermo Moreno

Bruce O’Neal

Dominic Papagni

Patricia Pointer

Dennis Zeuner

Michael Lopez

Jose Mejia

Jamee Moltini

Chuck Riojas

Michele Rodriguez

(3 vacancies)

1/24/2017 Barbara Steck (chair)

William Clark

Michael Lopez

Jamee Moltini

Guillermo Moreno

Bruce O’Neal

Dominic Papagni

Jose Mejia

Patricia Pointer

Chuck Riojas

Michele Rodriguez

Dennis Zeuner

(3 vacancies)

Moltini and Zeuner say they no longer serve on the committee.

The next committee meeting is May 17.

Name That School

The Fresno Unified board will hear potential names culled from a recent survey for a new elementary school in Southeast Fresno.

Dozens of names are on the list of people living and deceased. Some of the more notable choices: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Police Chief Jerry Dyer, war hero Chuck Yeager, “America’s Pastor” Billy Graham, former FUSD superintendent Michael Hanson, and school board member Valerie Davis.

Central Unified Superintendent Search

The Central Unified school board meets at 7 o’clock Tuesday night (April 10) at Central High East) to discuss hiring a full-time superintendent. It will be the first public discussion by the board since it dismissed Mark Sutton on Feb. 27.

The agenda item is vague regarding what will be discussed. “The vacancy of the Superintendent has necessitated a discussion of search options to fill the position,” is all the information available.

Members of Central Committee PAC plan to speak. They are continuing an effort to recall board members Richard Solis and Phillip Cervantes for their perceived roles in Sutton’s firing.

Mayor Returns to Capitol

Mayor Lee Brand will be in Sacramento tomorrow (April 11) on the Capitol steps to advocate for $1.5 billion in state funding to combat homelessness.

Brand will be part of the Big 11 mayors group to support AB 3171, which would spend money from the budget surplus on block grants for homeless programs.

Patterson Challenger Wins Equal Pay Case

Aileen Rizo (photo: Facebook)

As reported in numerous outlets, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of a local Fresno educator in her pay discrimination case against the Fresno County Board of Education.

Aileen Rizo sued the board after discovering that a man in a similar position made more money. The board argued it was based on a policy of adding 5% to a salary based on the person’s prior pay history.

The court ruled 11-0 against the board.

Rizo, a Democrat, is also running for Assembly against incumbent Jim Patterson (R-Fresno).

Alan Autry, Insurance Salesman

Former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry is pitching insurance. His TV spots for Golden Memorial Insurance have been airing the last few months.

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