The Hayward school board will have a new member as early as February after an appointment process was approved during a special meeting on Tuesday night.
Hayward school boardmembers formally declared Dr. Luis Reynoso’s recently won seat was forfeited and deemed vacant. The school district determined Reynoso could not serve a fourth term on the board after he won a seat last November at the Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board of Trustees.
School district attorneys said the pair of elected offices are incompatible and pose a conflict of interest. The community college district and school board have overlapping jurisdictions, they added.
“The law is clear that a public official cannot serve on these two boards,” said Mary Hernandez, the school district’s counsel.
“The issues have already been interpreted by the attorney general,” said another school district attorney, Conor Kennedy.
Reynoso had maintained that he intended to serve both districts. He was sworn-in to the school board seat on Dec. 14. A day later, Dec. 15, Reynoso took the oath of office at the community college district.
Under the election code, Reynoso forfeited the first seat when he took the oath for the second. “The minute the oath took place, resignation was automatic,” Kennedy added.
Reynoso put up little legal resistance to the school board’s move, although he could seek the opportunity for relief from the state attorney general’s office.
Despite a vigorous public plea to keep the school board seat, Reynoso signaled to supporters that a legal remey might be too costly for the financially-strapped school district, but, perhaps, also for himself. Reynoso, instead, called for the recall of school board president April Oquenda and Ken Rawdon prior to Tuesday’s special meeting.
Already deemed off the school board prior to Tuesday’s special meeting, Reynoso, nonetheless, spoke during public comment. “Let me defend myself,” he told the school board. “Schedule an open meeting. Let me bring my lawyer so he can bring the other side. If it’s so legal, table it.”
Rawdon said it was a distraction by Reynoso to hold two offices, along with assertions that he and Oquenda, in addition, to Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne, had racist intentions to remove the board’s lone Latino member.
The time spent on Tuesday’s special meeting could have been better used to discuss matters important to students, Rawdon said. “But once again, we’re forced to deal with distraction over distraction, which this has been, from Dr. Reynoso.” He added, “Now I hope with whoever we appoint, we can go ahead and actually do the work that this board is supposed to be doing.”
The search to fill the seat will begin immediately. An application period for qualified candidates will run through Jan. 25, the board decided. Eligible candidates will be announced on Jan. 27. The board will conduct interviews during the first week of February, Wayne said, and an appointment could be made the same night. That individual would be required to run for a full term on the school board in November 2022.