Hayward school boardmembers will seek to formally declare Dr. Luis Reynoso’s has vacated his seat on Tuesday night, and there appears little recourse at hand to halt the move, aside from a costly legal challenge.
Reynoso won re-election to his Hayward school board seat last November, but during the same election, also won the open Area 1 seat on the Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board of Trustees.
Reynoso intends to serve both offices and was sworn-in to both two weeks ago. Hayward Unified School District officials, however, believes his concurrent service violates the state election and education codes.
But while holding out hope he can continue to serve both elected offices, Reynoso on Tuesday called for Hayward residents to recall the main proponents for the effort to remove him, School Board President April Oquenda and school boardmember Ken Rawdon.
“I need to talk to my supporters and explain the reality,” Reynoso said of the likelihood the school board will oust him on Tuesday night. “The school district will have to spend a lot of money, and I know this is tough time for the district. I think it would be better to do a recall.”
As the only Latino on the Hayward school board, in an city where roughly 40 percent of the city shares the same ethnicity, many residents have labeled racist the school board’s actions led by Oquenda and Rawdon, in addition, to perceptions they are subverting the will of the voters last November.
“This is voter suppression – not abiding by the will of the people. The voters knew I was running for two positions and they were okay with it,” Reynoso said.
“It’s very disappointing to see the school board and the superintendent are not honoring the election, and it’s affecting Latinos the most,” he added. “Its time for Latinos to rise up in this area because what the school board is doing is a travesty of justice.”
The Hayward school board’s moves are coming at a break-neck pace. Just four days after Reynoso was sworn-in for a fourth term on the Hayward school board on Dec. 14, school boardmembers urged him to choose between the two seats by Dec. 30. Reynoso, however, did not respond to the board’s request, and the school board unilaterally declared he had forfeited the seat. The school board will vote Tuesday night to declare a vacancy and set the parameters for an appointment to the seat.
Tuesday night’s special meeting will apparently not include Reynoso. He did not receive an online invitation to join the meeting, as of Tuesday afternoon, he said. Reynoso was similarly locked out of the Dec. 18 special closed session.
Reynoso believes, prior to any moves made on Tuesday, that he is nevertheless, still a current member of the school board. “They’re kicking me out before kicking out,” Reynoso said. “I’m not even invited to my own execution.”
The circumstances of the special meeting may mean Reynoso will not be allowed to publicly defend his position on Tuesday night. “It’s akin to being accused of something and the judge, jury, and the attorney’s have locked me outside to protect me for my own good,” he said.