Three trustee related issues — the replacement of Alexander Bronson, the possible censure of Sam Fant, and a scathing Grand Jury report on school board conduct — top the agenda for Tuesday’s Manteca Unified board meeting.
The school board meets at 7 p.m. at the district office on Louise Avenue just west of Airport Way.
The board will discuss the legal options they have to replace Bronson who resigned after felony election charges were filed against him. The board can either appoint or call for a special election. If they don’t decide by July 10, the County Superintendent of Schools is required by law to call for a special election.
When voters in November elected Bronson and Ashley Drain — who is also facing election fraud charges stemming from not being a legal resident of the district when she filed nomination papers — they also approved abandoning district-wide school board elections.
Since Bronson resigned on his own and was not recalled or removed by office by a court order, if the board opts for an election it will be conducted only within Area 6 that was represented by Bronson. Area 6 is generally northwest Manteca bounded by Lathrop Road on the north, Main Street on the east, Louise Avenue on the south, Union Road on the east, Yosemite Avenue on the south, and Airport Way on the west with the exception of the Chadwick Square neighborhood on the northeast corner of Lathrop Road and Airport Way.
Elections had been district wide previously with candidates required to live within the area that they sought to represent.
The board at a previous meeting formed a subcommittee of Deborah Romero, Drain and Nancy Teicheira to recommend whether Fant should be censored for essentially creating a hostile work environment for a classified employee at Woodward School. It involves using her private Facebook postings to publically question whether the employee was racist. It happened after that employee came to the defense of another classified worker at Weston Ranch High that was accused of racism by Drain.
The board also will receive the Grand Jury report issued on the Manteca Unified School District and give direction to place it on the agenda for the June 23 board meeting.
The report painted an unflattering picture of Fant, took Drain to task for her conduct, questioned whether the administrative staff knew how to interact with trustees, and expressed concerns about the overall conduct of the board.
The Grand Jury contends Fant ignored district procedures, intimidated school employees, and overstepped his authority. The report also zeroed in on the conduct of the two trustees elected in November — Bronson who has since resigned and Drain who is the target of a recall effort. The report sidestepped complaints about Drain and Bronson using fake addresses to qualify as candidates as that specific complaint had been forwarded to the Secretary of state’s office. The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office has since filed felony charges against the two regarding election fraud. Drain also has welfare fraud and grand theft charges pending against her.
The Grand Jury contends the conduct of trustees has created a “toxic climate” in the Manteca Unified School District given their disrespect for each other, for employees, and for community members.