Connect with us

Local Education

Central Unified Trustee Seat Will Stay Vacant Until Nov. Election



Photo of Central Unified School District Administration sign
Share with friends

The Central Unified Area 4 seat formerly held by Richard Atkins, who resigned this week in response to public outcry over his Facebook post that urged U.S. critics to “go back to your country,” will remain vacant until the November election.

The elected candidate will serve out the remainder of the term, which expires in 2022.

State education code dictates that the board may not make a provisional appointment or hold a special election if the resignation occurs between 130 days and six months before a regularly scheduled election.

Atkins, who announced his resignation during Tuesday’s special board meeting, made it official when he submitted it in writing the next day, which is 132 days prior to the Nov. 3 general election, attorneys Kevin R. Dale and Andrew M. Aller told the district in a memorandum.

Adding to November’s Ballot

The next step is for the district to coordinate with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and the county clerk to add the Area 4 seat to the other three Central Unified seats up for election on Nov. 3.

The guidance from the attorneys will be reviewed by the trustees as an information item on the agenda of next Tuesday’s special board meeting.

Also at the meeting, trustees will consider a formal resolution denouncing Atkins’ Facebook post, proclaiming pride in the diversity of Central Unified students and staff, and committing to participating in diversity and anti-racism training.

The resolution directly quotes Atkins’ Facebook post — “If you don’t Love the Country you live in, then go back to the country you or your ancestors came from. I am SICK of this Shit.” — and says the post was widely circulated and “caused outrage and frustration within the community and beyond.”

Resolution Denouncing Atkins’ Facebook Post

G 1 Resolution192064DenouncingBoardMemberRichardAtkinsStatement 0 (Text)

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email