The Fresno Unified School Board voted 5-1 to censure Trustee Terry Slatic over his monologue that shut down a recent School Board meeting and his use of district letterhead to send a news release, both violations of board bylaws.
Unlike the first censure vote in August 2019, this time Slatic voted against it. Two years ago he abstained from voting.
Trustees compiled the new censure resolution after Slatic declined to stop speaking during the board-superintendent comments portion of the Aug. 25 School Board meeting. Slatic maintained that he was forced to raise questions during the meeting because his time to speak directly with Superintendent Bob Nelson has been severely limited.
Days later Slatic sent out a news release on board letterhead calling for the Fresno County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit to investigate Nelson and trustees for alleged Education Code violations involving transfers of students with histories of violent behavior. Using board letterhead violated board bylaws, other trustees said.
Watch: Slatic’s Censure
‘Hypocritical’ to Accuse Slatic of Disrupting Meeting
A handful of Slatic’s defenders waited several hours for the censure resolution agenda item to be heard by the trustees and then charged that the district has wasted money on investigations of Slatic. They said he is the only trustee focused on improving student achievement in the district, which ranks near the bottom of the nation’s big-city districts.
The censure resolution discussion was marked by several outbursts from audience members, at least one of whom was heard to have made a threat, which prompted the Fresno police officer monitoring the meeting to escort him from the room.
Slatic’s defenders included Andy Fabela, a Fresno High area resident who has been a regular critic of the board. Slatic’s attempts to have Fabela named to a citizens bond oversight committee and on Wednesday to the district’s new school renaming committee have been repeatedly rejected by the rest of the School Board.
Fabela, noting that Slatic was accused of disrupting the Aug. 25 School Board meeting by refusing to cease speaking even after he was gaveled out of order and his microphone was turned off, played a tape of a past meeting in which board President Valerie Davis, then a trustee, continued to loudly interrupt then-board President Chrisopher De La Cerda.
“Hypocritical,” Fabela noted, and added, “You’re about as prejudiced against him (Slatic) as you can possibly be.”
The new censure resolution prevents Slatic from visiting a district campus without an escort from the superintendent’s office. Slatic had sought to have the resolution amended to allow a school site official to provide the escort, but several trustees said they were wary about putting school officials in the position of having to escort him.
When Davis started to ask the board if they were ready to vote on the censure, Slatic asked if he could have a turn to speak.
“Oh, did you want to?” she asked.
Slatic then joked that the censure resolution, which also details incidents cited in the original censure resolution in August 2019, failed to note the three calls for intentional roughness that he incurred as a high school football player.
The incidents that led to the first censure included grabbing a Bullard student, confronting an Army recruiter and Bullard coaches, scolding Bullard cheerleaders, and telling a pastor “you need to go back to your barrio and pastor your little church.”
Spending $250,000 on lawyers and investigators over the past three years to review the accusations lodged against him was an expensive way for his fellow trustees to say they don’t like him, Slatic said.
But he said he’s not going anywhere and will continue asking Nelson why the majority of Fresno Unified students are not reading and doing mathematics at grade level — and what it’s going to take to get them there.
Even though the Aug. 25 self-described filibuster was a major factor in the latest censure, Slatic demonstrated that he’s still prepared to interrupt and talk on top of fellow trustees who have the floor, as he did to Trustee Veva Islas at the end of the meeting during the board-superintendent communications.