Third FUSD board member recalled

By Nancy Gutierrez

A recall of all five Farmersville Unified School District Board members looms as veteran board member John Vasquez was served with recall papers Thursday, Feb. 19. On Jan. 8 members Conrado Gonzalez and Antonio Ramos were served with recall documents. In a previous interview with board president Martin Macareno said he was sure that he and member Blanca Sandoval would be next in March to receive recall papers.

Vasquez was given recall papers at his home by Linda Burns who had previously run for a seat on the FUSD board. Vasquez said Burns procured the signatures of 12 registered individuals in the community to legalize the documents.

The recall documents cite incompetence, an absence of leadership and approving the contract of FUSD administration before properly evaluating the employee, as reasons for the recall.

"We had already done an evaluation on the superintendent when we approved the contract for another year," Vasquez said. "Personally I think we have a fantastic administration and if I could give them a 10 year contract I would. And to say that I have been incompetent, that smarts after being a board member for 16 years."

Though upset about the recall petition Vasquez said he believes that the community has the right to recall its elected board members if they are not doing their job.

"There are decisions being made that I disagree with," he said. "A lot of money has been spent on attorney fees. If a recall is what people want and they get the signature then we should go with it. The people in this community have a strong voice. If they think I'm not doing my job we'll have to go with that too."

A few days after the recall the Farmersville Teachers Union and their lawyers filed a statement with the district concerning intimidation practices on campus.

Union President Terry Nardiello said a teacher was called out of a classroom and told not to discuss matters concerning the district's new lawyers during school. Allegedly the teacher had been discussing dollar amounts being paid to the districts lawyers Burke Williams and Sorenson in the teachers lounge.

"Discussion about bills got back to the board president and he asked the acting superintendent to talk to the teacher," Nardiello said. "She said the teacher shouldn't be speaking about that and that is a violation of their first amendment rights."

Board members usually participate in classroom visits at predetermined times. Nardiello said the board has come on surprise class visits and gone room to room. He said the unannounced visits were disruptive to the education process.

"If they want to make an appointment to sit in my class for the whole period I have no problem," Nardiello said.

Vasquez agrees with Nardiello and said it is not the boards job to pull students and teachers out of classrooms and question them.

Nardiello added that the Unions main concern is current board leadership and the disregard of the financial impact their decisions are making on the school district. On Jan. 13 the board voted 4-1 to place Superintendent Janet Jones on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. In December the board fired their Fresno-based law firm and hired Burke Williams and Sorenson based out of Los Angeles. Though fees from both companies were similar, the travel cost is increased.

"I believe their interest is only in serving to further the agenda of our board president, which seems to be getting rid of our current superintendent," Nardiello said.

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