By Michael Hernandez
THOUSAND OAKS—Another heated Conejo Valley Unified School District board meeting that lasted until 11:30 p.m. resulted in the rejection (by 4-1 margin with Board Member Sandee Everett dissenting) of two discussion items requesting the creation of a Board Ad-Hoc Committee to write a censure resolution regarding Board Members Jenny Fitzgerald (for her social media attack against Board Member Sandee Everett) and against Board Member Cindy Goldberg (for an alleged ethics conflict for serving both as Executive Director of the Conejo School Foundation and as a board member). Public comments ran approximately 4:1 for pursuing the censure of Jenny Fitzgerald and Cindy Goldberg.
Board Member Sandee Everett claimed that she had never heard or observed an elected official ever making such an attack against another elected official in Thousand Oaks before. “This is a violation of board bylaws, not the law, not the education code. We must show restraint on social media.” In her comments, Everett extended forgiveness to Fitzgerald; who said she didn’t want it.
A defiant Fitzgerald said, “Do not expect me not to speak out when I see something wrong (done) by another board member. You can come after me (during) public comments, on public trolls, write to The Acorn, spread lies and twist facts all you want…but one accepting adult can save the life of a LGBTQ+ student.”
The censure item against Goldberg concerned what was alleged as a violation of Education code 49010 and 49011 which states: “A pupil enrolled in a public school shall not be required to pay a pupil fee for participation in an educational activity.”
CVUSD students pay $300 for a semester long class and $600 for a year long class during summer time offerings at district schools made through the Conejo Schools Foundation—a local non-profit which pays Executive Director Cindy Goldberg a salary of $54,000 plus a year. According to Education Code 38131 the school district may allow a nonprofit to use its facilities.
However, at issue, is that nearly 20 percent of the students do not pay and receive scholarships. Critics of this practice are asking who received the scholarships and why “paying parents” are subsidizing those who don’t? Both the district and the CSF claim this is a donation but “few know this” say critics and more than one parent is trying to get their money back.
Fitzgerald claimed that the attacks on Goldberg were “collateral damage” due to her comments. Everett stated: “We should investigate this matter”…especially if there is an ethics or conflict of interest issue. “We are public servants.” According to Goldberg, “The Conejo Schools Foundation has a board of directors and we follow the rules.”
Board approves 2018-19 Unaudited Actual Financial Report
The CVUSD board approved the 2018-19 unaudited actual financial report that shows revenues of $198 million and expenses of $195 million showing a net balance of $18 million in reserves.
The district receives $6 million in federal funds; $12 million in state funds; $9 million in local funds and $162 million through the local control funding formula (property taxes). Certificated salaries make up $92 million of expenses and classified salaries are $27 million.
In other CVUSD board action:
- Board President Betsy Connolly directed the creation of an academic ad-hoc committee made up of school site leaders to remove any obstacles for high school students receiving the same amount of credits (five) for dual enrollment in college level classes as in Advanced Placement or Honors classes. Board Members also reviewed the CVUSD administrative regulations for high school credit for concurrent enrollment in high school and college classes;
- Approved the new core literature titles for middle school English: “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander (sixth grade); and “Refugee” by Alan Grantz; “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens; and “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury (eight grade). One public comment was against the adoption of “Refugee” and another public comment against the adoption of “Great Expectations.” A third public comment thanked the district for the Book Review Evenings held on August 22 (two parents attended) and August 27 (10 parents attended);
- Public comment was also given concerning the Conejo Valley YMCA Youth and Government Model Legislature & Court (grades 9-12) program held in Sacramento on February 13-17 for over 2,000 teenagers from across California. The program has been operated for 67 years and teaches the values of democracy by creating citizen leaders from high school students. A parent and delegate meeting will be held next Wednesday, Sept. 11 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Art Trek in Newbury Park (703 Rancho Conejo Blvd.). The program costs $1,650 per delegate which pays the registration fees for three conferences (Nov. 9-11; Jan. 18-20; and Feb. 13-17); transportation to all conferences; and hotel accommodations at the Sacramento conference; a delegation sweatshirt; and selected meals. For more information contact lead advisors: Veronica Rodarte and Jessica Ramos at [email protected]. The Miller YMCA also promotes a Model United Nations (grades 6-8) for junior high school students from across the state of California with an annual conference in Los Angeles.
By Pat Lynch Yesterday I attended an event held at Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Newbury Park entitled Alternative Christian Education Conference. (Note: in one flyer the conference was alternatively called Conference on Public and Private School Options). Sandee Everett, board member of the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), was one of the guest speakers. […]
School Board chooses not to move forward on censure of Sandee Everett; runs out of time to discuss censure of Jenny Fitzgerald
By Michael Hernandez THOUSAND OAKS—The Conejo Valley Unified School District board chose not to move forward on the censure of board trustee Sandee Everett but ran out of time to discuss censure of Board Trustee Jenny Fitzgerald. Meanwhile, an email was submitted the day of the meeting by former CVUSD Board President Mike Dunn to […]
Education Conference Delivers Broadside to Public School Sex-Ed (“Gender”) and Other Curricula, Presents PS Alternatives.
By George Miller Newbury Park, CA Conejo Valley opponents blasted increasingly radicalized sex-ed in public/charter schools and presented alternatives at a conference-“Local, Private and Homeschool Alternatives to Public School” in Newbury Park (Thousand Oaks), CA on August 10, 2019. The conference addressed why they thought alternatives were needed in the first place and what they […]
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].