Education

Fresno Unified trustees trade barbs at meeting

A verbal spat between two Fresno Unified school trustees Wednesday overshadowed an otherwise routine report about district programs aimed at preparing students for careers.

It began after trustee Carol Mills posed a question to Tracewell Hanrahan, the district's executive officer of school leadership, who was delivering the presentation.

After Hanrahan answered Mills' question, trustee Tony Vang started to ask a question but was interrupted by Mills, who said: "I wasn't done talking."

Vang told Mills that he wasn't going to let one board member "dominate" the meeting. He added: "I feel kind of disappointed ... listening to one or two board members do the talking. I don't really need to be here."

Board president Valerie Davis politely told Vang that Mills still had the floor and had not finished with her questions. Mills was allowed to finish, and then Davis asked Vang to proceed with his query, which centered on the need for career counselors versus academic counselors.

In other action, trustees:

  • Agreed to refinance up to $31 million in Measure K bonds to obtain a lower interest rate and save taxpayers $450,000 to $500,000, according to the district. Measure K is the $199 million bond approved by voters in 2001 for new school construction and improvements.
  • Honored Victor Perez, who became a national hero after rescuing an 8-year-old girl from a kidnapper in east-central Fresno on Oct. 5. He received a standing ovation, a plaque and a framed Webster Elementary School T-shirt. The girl is a student at Webster.
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