Fresno Unified School District is seeking applicants for the trustee seat Tony Vang vacated in September, but at least one board member said she thinks the district is moving too fast.
Trustee Michelle Asadoorian said during Wednesday night's school board meeting that trustees needed to discuss how they should fill the seat -- either by appointment or by special election -- before soliciting applicants.
The district posted a notice last week on its website seeking applicants for Vang's seat representing the McLane High School area.
Citing the California education code, Asadoorian said the decision on how to proceed lies with the governing board, not district staff. "We're going through the trouble of vetting candidates and then having a meeting to talk about it," Asadoorian said. "I think it's counterproductive. I think the board should have a discussion first and then move forward from there."
Asadoorian asked that discussion to be held at the board's next meeting on Oct. 24.
But the district's attorney, Mary Beth de Goede, said the board has had a procedure in place for years to address vacancies, and it requires a public hearing before the board decides how it will fill the vacancy.
The board and the public will have an opportunity to speak at a future public meeting about how to fill Vang's seat -- whether by appointing someone, holding a special election or do nothing, she said.
Board president Valerie Davis said a discussion will be held before the board votes. The board is scheduled to interview applicants at a Nov. 7 meeting.
The district is soliciting applications from anyone who is 18 or older, a registered voter, a citizen of California and who lives in the McLane High School trustee area. The deadline to apply is Oct. 28.
In other matters, the troubled New Millennium charter school continued to be a heated topic.
Two members of the public urged Trustee Cal Johnson, who works at the school, to resign from Fresno Unified's board after a story published Sept. 16 in The Bee highlighted chronic problems at the school. Johnson did not comment.
Trustees Larry Moore and Asadoorian questioned why the board was not made aware of the problems or asked to revoke its charter. Moore, an outspoken critic of Superintendent Michael Hanson, was particularly pointed, repeating accusations he raised last month that Hanson bears responsibility for withholding information from the board on the charter school's troubles. And he accused fellow board members of being unwilling to address Hanson's actions in closed session.
Hanson briefly defended district staff and said anyone with concerns could review the district's binder of documents on how it monitored the school.
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