Video of the Oct. 21 meeting of CUSD The Board of Trustees is worth the time of every Coronado citizen. Media caricatures to the contrary, attendees were measured, orderly and respectful. There seemed to be a sincere desire to dial down temperature for a less contentious meeting. There were great examples of the critical importance of community oversight.
A citizen analysis of the breadth of the $3,500,000 consent agenda should give every taxpayer pause. Consent agenda items are essentially approved on a “trust me” basis requiring little or no Trustee oversight. The process is a poster child for what has produced community mistrust. Lack of candor by school administrators results in a lack of oversight. The strategy to fund controversial programs unobtrusively, with no explanation, appears to be to bury them in the consent agenda. It seems likely the “No Place for Hate” contract was approved as a Consent Agenda item, as the Oct. 21 consent agenda included funding to again “register” the CUSD Equity Committee with County Office of Education and a contract for new staff training from the National Conflict Resolution Center the Superintendent characterized as an anti-bullying initiative.
For an uncomfortable look at board disfunction, take two hours to watch the censure hearing that dominated the agenda. It is not inaccurate to say that Trustee Keszei’s counsel quickly dismantled the case advanced by two of her counterparts. Ten minutes in it became obvious it would have been foolish and destructive for CUSD to advance censure further. Disregard both the lawfare pretext smokescreen of violating board confidentiality and the self-righteous ethical preening. What was this censure about? One trustee, who learned the same set of facts the Superintendent and Board knew prior to condemning our championship basketball team, our children, and our community as “racist, classist and colorist” demanded her name be removed from their collective rush to judgment. Why? Because she, like all the Trustees, knew a 40-year-old leftist political activist was the real instigator: not the team, not the students. Her fervor to get the truth out, to clear the team, the school and the community demanded she breach solidarity. She never held truth confidential. That is why she faced public censure. As the hearing clarified, all the trustees knew before the June 22 special board meeting that Luke Serna was the culpable party. Yet only one Trustee had the courage to stand alone and face the identity politics cancel culture mob. The entire Coronado community is in her debt. As Orwell warned, “The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”
With the facts clarified, plaudits are due to Board President Pontes for equanimity in using his positional authority to table the misguided censure motion while demanding that all board members commit to improve comity and discretion. Wise decisions in contentious circumstances are difficult decisions. They often satisfy no one. So be it.