HAYWARD SCHOOL BOARD SCANDAL | As Hayward students returned the classroom last week to end what was hopefully a joyous summer vacation, it was not so eventful for its five-member school board as it continues to sort through allegations of an affair among its fraternity and persistent internal squabbles.
After a raucous meeting last July 25 where school board member Luis Reynoso repeatedly referenced the burgeoning scandal among trustees Jesus Armas and Maribel Heredia and a shortened special meeting Aug. 8, little has occurred to sort out the issues swirling over the moribund school district.
Wednesday night’s agenda includes two notable items including guidance on proceeding with a vote of no-confidence against Armas and potential deliberations over the use of its current legal representation.
Reynoso requested information Aug. 13 to discuss a potential vote of no-confidence be placed on the agenda. However, if the issue heads to a vote, it is unclear whether a potential motion has enough support to pass. In recent interviews, school board member William McGee had voiced support for such as move, as had Reynoso.
In what is characterized in staff reports as a potential cost-cutting move, the agenda also includes discussion tonight of reevaluating its connection to GCR, LLP, for the school board’s legal representation.
MCGEE’S PLEA In a letter to the community last Aug. 10, school board member William McGee welcomed returning students to the classroom and broached the subject of the allegations against Jesus Armas and Maribel Heredia. In the memo, he called for leadership at the school district and board level. “We need to allow for conflict, which is healthy for any organization, and at the same time work through that conflict openly, and constructively,” said McGee.
He also appeared to urge for the board to take a proactive role in investigating the charges and ramifications of the allegations against Armas and Heredia. “We must acknowledge this negativity, seek the truth, learn from the experience, and move forward while remembering this lesson as it becomes history so we can put forth an effort not to make the same mistakes again,” said McGee. “Hopefully this acknowledgement will guide and lead us to a level of increased trust and success of our school district to benefit our students in a positive way.”
McGee also referenced the Aug. 8 special meeting that was adjourned after 20 minutes when notes from the contentious July 25 meeting containing the alleged affair were not presented for a discussion of the board’s reworked bylaws. During that meeting, it was asserted the previous meeting had included staff direction to bring back the reading of the bylaws for an additional first meeting Aug. 8. “In reviewing the video from out meeting July 25, it was never stated to bring these policies back for another reading,” said McGee. “The miscommunication of the reason for this meeting shows the need to work on clear communication strategies to minimize confusion in an effort to not waste money and staff time.”
THE BOARD MEETING WILL BE TELEVISED The growing sense of impropriety at the Hayward School district has certainly fostered skepticism among residents and, in one case, a bout of immense distrust.
An email Tuesday from administrative staff at the school district alerted board members the sound system at Hayward City Council chambers was inoperable and may not be fixed in time for Wednesday’s school board meeting. If not, the meeting proceed as scheduled, but would not be broadcast on the city’s public television channel.
Cries of a media blackout by residents and charges the school district was attempting shield itself from a potentially heated public debate were quelled Wednesday afternoon. “There will be a broadcast tonight,” said Clancy Priest, the city’s technology services director.
In the past, critics of the school district have asserted meetings would periodically move to its district offices were they could only recorded for audio and not video.