March 8, 2022
– CUSD School Board Meeting –
[ Video Link &
Union / Public Comments ]
Greetings District Employees, Families, and Stakeholders,
Many of you noticed that the March 8, 2022 Board Meeting was not published until today. Regardless, the matters addressed at that event are no less important to District operations than those previous. Therefore, CAUSE Leadership continues to encourage District colleagues and stakeholders to review the system-wide issues impacting District employees, their students, families, and the teaching & learning environment.
We continue to receive and appreciate all the positive feedback on our effort to help keep you better informed. In keeping with that objective, and for your convenience, we continue to provide the board meeting video link (below).
CAUSE leadership also calls your attention to specific topics and comments, as they occurred during the meeting:
1.) D.6. Purchase of Floor Scrubbers from Waxie Sanitary Supply
Union Leadership expressed its appreciation. The District has (alas) taken the advice of District custodians who have ‘mentored-up’ by suggesting improvements on the under-resourced conditions they serve in.
Currently, District custodians are being asked to provide more output with obsolete machinery, low staffing numbers, increased safety related injuries, higher health related absences, & the general lack of substitutes. The purchase of these Floor Scrubbers should be an improvement in an area of operations notorious for being under-resourced.
But let’s be clear, there is no amount of machinery that can be purchased, which will make up for the severe staffing shortages that both existed before the COVID pandemic, and continue to exist at this time.
The Union and District are aware that CUSD has been providing just 65% of full-custodial staffing levels considered to be the industry standard. When compared to similar k-12 Districts (examining both total student-population and total school-site/facilities square footage) the CUSD should be employing approximately 16 Full Time Custodians, or at least 16 FTE’s (Full Time Equivalents.)
Instead, as confirmed in the District’s own Budget projections, District leadership acknowledges that it has hired only 10 FTE’s (the equivalent of 10 Full Time Employees) in the Custodial Department. To make the problems with under-staffing worse, custodial employees are routinely pulled away to other departments to perform duties beyond those associated with our effort to maintain safe, sanitary, healthy, and hygienic conditions at our school sites and facilities.
[ see MINUTE – 04:08 ]
2.) E.2. Superintendent Report
Quick Summary / Abstract: The Superintendent will report to the Board about various matters involving the District. There will be no Board discussion except to ask questions or refer matters to staff, and no action will be taken unless listed on a subsequent agenda. (1 attachment)
Attachments: Superintendent Report February 23, 2022
Of significance, Superintendent Rigby announces the resignation of ALISO – Principal Veronica Gallardo; effective March 18, 2022. But not before Ms. Rigby used the Superintendent pulpit to allege that none of the concerns brought forward by either community members, students, parents, ALISO staff and faculty, or Union Leadership were accurate.
In what appears an obvious attempt at damage control, the Superintendent claimed that reports associated with ALISO – Principal Veronica Gallardo‘s performance, under the direction of Superintendent Rigby, were inaccurate. Those reports included but were not limited to Superintendent Rigby’s and Principal Gallardo‘s:
* Failure to provide a consistent site-discipline policy and investigate a parent complaint about a student being choked by his male instructional aid (Albeit witnessed and reported by several students.)
* Failure to consistently communicate, respond to, and share ALISO issues in Spanish with Spanish Speaking families (Even though Principal Gallardo is a fluent Spanish speaker.)
* Claim/s that “no evidence” existed to support a variety of concerns, even though Employees were required to file formal District complaints and ALISO parents were required to file Police reports to document examples of direct retaliation and intimidation by ALISO Principal Gallardo.
Instead Superintendent Rigby blames teachers for both the breakdown of administrative follow-through and ALISO Principal Gallardo’s unprofessional conduct. More specifically, Ms. Rigby alleges that the challenges at ALISO were due to:
* The long-term absence of a classroom teacher (FYI: This teacher was out based upon legitimate and contractual medical leave.)
* The lack of teachers willing to provide substitute coverage.
Superintendent Rigby’s excuses seem to ignore two critically important details:
(1) It was (and remains) the Superintendent’s responsibility, working through her Site-Principal, to resolve the challenges associated with the resourcing of classroom, concerning teaching and learning conditions, and reports by District stakeholders.
(2) Superintendent Rigby, alone, possessed/possess the authority to immediately direct resources towards the resolution of both the dangerous behavioral and deteriorating academic conditions maintained under Principal Gallardo‘s supervision.
In the Superintendent’s comments, Ms. Rigby would have the community believe that all concerns where inaccurately reported, inaccurately documented, incorrectly cited by the multiple media-outlets. Yet, ALISO Principal Veronica Gallardo still resigned in the middle of the instructional-year.
Do you think Superintendent Rigby is telling the truth, or is she acting to preserve the record and avoid the accountability that comes with uni-laterally over-riding the CUSD hiring panel’s recommendation not to employ Ms. Gallardo in the ALISO Principal position?
[ see MINUTE – 13:38 ]
3.) E.3. Public Comment on Items Not on This Agenda
Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Public is welcome to address the Board on any item of interest to the public that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board. The Board may not take action on such comment but may offer a brief response for clarification or give staff direction related to a public comment not on this agenda.
Shortly after Superintendent Rigby’s arrival to CUSD, she brought in new District legal counsel. This new law-firm has gained a reputation for using anti-labor, anti-employee, and anti-transparency tactics. With this new law-firm, a new level of confidentiality restrictions unseen before the arrival of Ms. Rigby became commonplace. With ballooning legal fees under Ms. Rigby, this new law-firm has aggressively supported Ms. Rigby’s coercive management style; seeking conflict and acting to silence employee & community members voices, participation, and oversight; up to and even including that of the CUSD’s School Board Members.
CAUSE Leadership reminded each individual School Board member that they hire the Superintendent. The CUSD School Board is Ms. Rigby’s boss; not the other way around.
And with that in mind, Union Leadership reminded CUSD Board Members of the promises they made to the community. We reminded them that the community relies on the School Board to diligently engage in their duties, and not to allow Senior District Administrators (with their lawyers and alleged expertise) to discourage Board Members from fulfilling their role in the community.
[ see MINUTE – 15:32 ]
You may also hear other powerful community voices, including recently resigned District Employee, Michelle Dario, who clarifies her experience working under ALISO-Principal Gallardo, who was clearly being directed by Superintendent Rigby and Human Resource Director Diana Zapata.
[ see MINUTE – 21:29 ]
4.) F.3. Board Bylaw 9720 Conflict of Interest (1st Reading)
Quick Summary / Abstract: The Board is asked to approve the first reading of BB 9720 Conflict of Interest. The Governing Board desires to maintain the highest ethical standards and help ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the district and the public. Accordingly, no Board member, district employee, or other person in a designated position shall participate in the making of any decision for the district when the decision will or may be affected by his/her financial, family, or other personal interest or consideration. (2 attachments)
The Union is interested in better understanding how the School Board will apply this “new Board By law” regarding ETHICS reform.
We remain a bit suspicious, when considering how the very same District Administrators who have permitted (if not nurtured) the administrative culture of violation across the District. How exactly will the Board and the Superintendent apply this statement, As per the new Board By Law… “.. no Board member, district employee, or other person in a designated position shall participate in the making of any decision for the district when the decision will or may be affected by his/her financial, family, or other personal interest or consideration.”
What would that look like?
* How will a District Principal, whose family rents land to local cannabis producers near CUSD sites and facilities, respond to grant-monies provided by local cannabis producers?
* Will employees who provide unique forms of day-care and direct-transportation to the children and families of District administrators, still receive preferential treatment and job assignments that support that condition?
* Will our Board and administrators continue to respond differently when employees, who also happen to be close friends of their family, are alleged to have engaged in physical misconduct?
* When considering matters of employee discipline, will Senior-Administrators and Board Members continue to look the other way when they receive multiple reports and allegations of violent behavior by their Anglo-male friends, while they hastily release (i.e. fire) African American female/s for absurd and unsubstantiated allegations of physical violence by the very ALISO – Principal who recently resigned?
* Will District leadership permit unorthodox forms of disciplinary consequences when their children or friends of their children are involved, versus when other community members’ children are involved?
Union Leadership would like to know how District leadership intends to hold themselves to these new and lofty ETHICAL standards. Shouldn’t they have been doing this all along?
[ see MINUTE – 38:53 ]
5.) G.4 2022-23 Budget Development Presentation
|Quick Summary / Abstract:
|The Board will continue to review and discuss next year’s 2022-23 budget. Assistant Superintendent Business Services Maureen Fitzgerald will continue to present on the 2022-2023 Budget Development. (1 attachment)
|2022-2023 Board Budget Presentation powerpoint ATTACHMENT
In the CUSD’s strategically designed PPT, a question begs asking….
Has anyone noticed that no-where in this entire Budget PPT, is there ANY mention of the exorbitant legal costs incurred by Superintendent Rigby’s uniquely coercive managerial culture?
There is no glossy pie chart or charts of expenditures that even attempts to reconcile the now well over a million dollars ($1,000,000) spent on frivolous and indefensible contractual violations pursued by Superintendent Rigby. The District provides no excuse, rationale, or justification for the illegal and non-contractual behavior pursued by Rigby and members of her leadership team, even though state arbitrators and the Public Employee Relations Board of California have ruled consistently against them.
What is the District continuing to hide?
As for what is contained in the PPT:
On slide # 9, Ms. Fitzgerald suggests that the District pays an average of $60,000+ dollars to maintain a part-time classroom instructional aide; a figure that includes a $15,000 healthcare benefit.
However, what percentage of CUSD’s Instructional-aides actually qualify for that $15,000+ healthcare benefit? And of those that qualify to pay into the healthcare plans offered by the CUSD, how many can actually afford to do so when they are hired for only part-time service?
Slide # 9 seems designed to obscure the fact that the District’s hiring practices, as designed, make it very difficult for part-time support staff to even buy-into (@ the pro-rated value) even the cheapest plan options. And so, each year, the lowest paid District employees must routinely forfeit that $15,000+ Healthcare benefit.
Question: When considering the misleading data mentioned above, guess who actually saves the $15,000+ Healthcare benefit when employees are unable to buy-in; all the while making no effort to provide any alternate form of compensation?
Answer: CUSD, while claiming that savings as an expense.
[ see MINUTE – 49:14 ]
||H.1. Purchase of LCD TV stand Full-Motion Wall Mounts for CHS Administration Building from MJP Technologies, Inc.
Once again, it is important to examine how the CUSD manages the MEASURE U fund (i.e. local TAX-PAYER contributions) in order to better understand how current expenses reflected in AGENDA ITEM G are tracked and managed.
At the last two School Board Meetings, held on Jan. 25th and Feb. 8th, it seems Assistant Superintendent Fitzgerald was not terribly accurate when making her statements to the Board about the $311,000+ accounting error/cost to the District. What Ms. Fitzgerald and Superintendent Rigby failed to mention is this; the alleged “surprise expenditure” should not have been (if it even was) a surprise to them. The data had been provided and was contained in the MEASURE U program monitoring system [COLBI], which accurately accounted for this cost.
These administrators also failed to share that after the hostile work-culture resulted in the departure of the previously expert MEASURE U fund-managers, there remained no expertise left in the District to oversee such a massive public-works fund. But even though Riby was well-aware that Assistant Superintendent Fitzgerald did not possess said expertise, the superintendent still gave Fitzgerald a hefty pay-increase to take responsibility for this current level of performance.
Is it any surprise that the recent $311,000 mistake occurred?
In the future, will you be surprised to learn that there are other similar mistakes?
[ see MINUTE – 57:50 ]
7.) I.1. Personnel Summary
|Quick Summary / Abstract:
|The Board is asked to approve the following recommended personnel items:
- Assignments – One personnel
- Resignation – One personnel
- Retirement – One personnel
- Leave of Absence – One personnel
- Winter Coaching Assignments – Extra weeks for CIF – One personnel (1 Attachment)
|Personnel Summary 03.08.2022 ATTACHMENT
Beyond the continued employee flight from the CUSD, Union Leadership asks an important question…
Why, after so many years and after so many requests to the Human Resource Director, Ms. Zapata, Superintendent Rigby, and School Board, does the CUSD still not offer departing employees (i.e. releases, resignations, retirements, etc.) an opportunity to complete an EXIT INTERVIEWS?
Exit Interviews are a routine method used by Human Resource Departments nationwide, to better understand the experiences of departing employees. What is the District trying to avoid and/or keep off the record?
[ see MINUTE – 1:02:38 ]
8.) I.2. Initial Proposal from the Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD) to the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees (CAUSE) – Certificated 2022-2023
I.3. Initial Proposal from the Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD) to the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees (CAUSE) – Classified 2022-2023
The Union thanked the District for providing contract openers. CAUSE also notified the community that Union Leadership submitted their openers on March 8, 2022, and that we look forward to reviewing said openers in more detail.
[ see MINUTE – 1:04:47 ]
9.) I.4. Resolution #22-892 Non Reelecting a Certificated Probationary Employee
ALISO – Principal Veronica Gallardo’s recent resignation may begin to resolve the damage caused in her wake. However, Gallardo’s resignation, alone, only begins to resolve the totality of her coercive performance, which was permitted (if not directed) by Superintendent Rigby and Human Resource Director Zapata.
The District’s efforts to pursue the non-re-election of several District employees is an example of this damage. We are compelled to remind District stakeholders that these decisions not to rehire several faculty members occurs during a time of the significant staffing shortages experienced by CUSD.
For those unfamiliar with the term, non-re-elect: It means that the District has chosen not to re-hire the employee, but is unwilling to share its reasons with either the employee, union representatives, or the public.
With that in mind, Union leadership is compelled to provide some insight where the District will not.
Take the experience of ALISO Counselor – Bert Dannenberg: Bert was told (just last week) that he will not be rehired for the 2022-23 school year. It is clear that the District’s decision to non-re-elect Mr. Dannenberg is not based on his job performance, which was recently and publicly recognized by Superintendent Rigby herself. Rather, this non-re-elect is clearly based on his decision to share concerns about the teaching and learning environment under ALISO Principal Veronica Gallardo.
So we share the following facts, ALL of which can be verified by hard evidence and supporting documentation:
* Nov. 17, 2021: Mr. Dannenberg and at least 7 colleagues were subjected to abusive behavior by ALISO Principal Gallardo.
* Nov. 18, 2021: Mr. Dannenberg and his ALSIO colleagues contacted the Union to report the Principal’s behavior, and inquire upon how to best alert upper management to the deteriorating conduct of Ms. Gallardo.
* Dec. 2, 2021: Mr. Dannenberg joined 8 colleagues to submit formal complaints (AR:1312.1 & AR:4030) that detailed Principa Gallardo’s behavior. (Although they haven’t acknowleged it in public, this complaint was provided to the School Board and Superintendent, well before matters at ALISO elementary began to appear in local media and school board meetings. They have been well aware of the Principal Gallardo’s unprofessional conduct for some time )
* Dec. 13, 2021: Mr. Dannenberg and his ALISO colleagues received the CUSD’s response, which notifies the complainants that their complaint was not reported on the appropriate forms. Yet upon request for the appropriate forms and policy/ies, the District neither responds or provides any clarification. [Then, no investigation is initiated for approx. 2 months. And not until AFTER the Superintendent and School Board moved to hastily fire one of the complainant on false pretenses, and 3 others had resigned from the District. [You heard from one this evening.]
* Feb. 2022: Mr. Dannenberg was contacted directly by the Human Resource Director, Diana Zapata, (on Feb. 4th) discouraging and warning him not to go to the Union with his concerns and complaint. Ms. Zapata stated that she would prefer to resolve this informally, and assured Mr. Dannenberg that any decision, on his part, to involve the Union, would ensure that the District’s lawyers would be called in to directly interview him and make this matter worse for Mr. Dannenberg.
When Mr. Dannenberg declined the “informal” approach, Human Resource Director Zapata maintained her threat, and brought the notoriously antagonistic District legal counsel into an investigatory interview on Feb. 9, 2022. [Of significance: The Union asked for each of these interviews to be recorded, but the Human Resource Director and lawyer refused.]
March 3, 2022: Both Human Resource Zapata and Principal Gallardo, in an unannounced meeting, notified Mr. Dannenberg he would not be brought back in 2022-23. He would be non-re-elected. Mr. Dannenberg was not provided an opportunity to seek Union representation at this meeting
March 8, 2022: At the request of Superintendent Rigby, the School Board unanimously supports the resolution to non-re-elect Mr. Dannenberg, even thought the ALISO – Principal who informed the decision resigned in the middle of the instructional year.
Again, and of significance, the decision to non-re-elect Mr. Dannenberg was made AFTER the following:
1.) HR Director Zapata, on the record and based on Mr. Dannenber’s leadership at ALISO, encouraged him to speak with her about pursuing an administrative credential while he worked with CUSD.
2.) Or that Mr. Dannenberg had received public recognition ( @ the Feb. 8,th Board see @ MINUTE 24:00 -) by Superintendent Rigby.
3.) Mr. Dannenberg had received only positive evaluations in his personnel file.
It is difficult to see how the data points (cited above) can be interpreted as anything but a clear example of (A) retaliation, (B) upper management’s effort to influence the record, and (C) avoid public accountability.
[ see MINUTE – 1:06:07 ]
10.) L. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
The Union asked the School Board to include the following AGENDA items at the next Board Meeting:
- School Board Communication with District Stakeholders: What are the boundaries? What is permissible? What is not? How can we ensure that both Board Members and the communities are in possession of accurate expectations regarding direct communication and engagement.
- EXIT Interviews for outgoing District employees: Proposal, Discussion, Purpose, Pros & Cons
[ see MINUTE – 1:14:06 ]
* C.A.U.S.E. – Yes We Can ! *