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Former trustee vows to sue school district
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Dale Fritchen is vowing to file a lawsuit against the Manteca Unified School District after declaring that the official response to his complaint that the Board of Trustees violated the Brown Act several times during recent meetings was not satisfactory.

At the board meeting Tuesday night, President Deborah Romero read the board’s three-point responses to the complaints filed by Fritchen, a former two-term trustee and board president, on Feb. 18. Fritchen’s complaint alleged that the board violated the Brown Act during its meetings on Jan. 27 and Feb. 10. The Brown Act is a state law which ensures that a public agency, such as Manteca Unified, conducts its business openly and fairly.

Addressing Fritchen’s complaint that the board failed to “properly notify an employee about a closed session discussion” on a matter that concerned said employee, the district’s response stated, “Mr. Fritchen is correct that under the Brown Act, when the board is going to hear specific complaints or charges brought against an employee, the affected employee is to be given at least 24-hour notice before the meeting, so that the employee can request that the complaints or charges be heard in open session.”

As a rule, the board cannot divulge to the public the nature of any complaint against an employee nor the name of the concerned employee, and that all discussions made in closed session are “privileged and confidential,” the statement added.

As to the Jan. 27 meeting that was also included in Fritchen’s complaint, the response stated that the board “did not hold a hearing regarding a specific complaint or charges about an employee.”

As to Fritchen’s complaint that the board should have, in conformance with the language of the Brown Act, reported in public session the results of an action taken during closed session regarding an employee’s employment’s status, the district responded by saying that since the motion that was made failed, the board does not believe that it had to report the result in public session.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and in order to show a good faith effort to be transparent about personnel matters of interest to the community…, the board reports (that) during closed session, the board considered the release of a principal and reassignment of that principal to another position within the district for the 2015-2016 school year. Fant moved and Drain seconded to reassign the principal. Themotion failed by the following vote: (Sam) Fant, yes; (Ashley) Drain, yes; (Evelyn) Moore, no; (Michael) Seelye, no; (Nancy) Teicheira, no; (Alexander) Bronson, abstain; and (Deborah) Romero, abstain.”

The report stated that this was in response to Fritchen’s complaint to the board’s alleged failure to report the motion made in closed session.

That incident in question ended Tuesday night with the resignation of Weston Ranch High School Principal Joe Fregoso. In closed session, the board voted 5-2 against the principal’s resignation.

Superintendent Jason Messer later informed the Bulletin that Fregoso will remain on the job until the end of the school year in June, and will be on leave with pay during the school year 2015-2016 according to the terms of a new resignation agreement approved by the board that night.