Trustee doesn’t care about censure as Fresno school board looks to beef up bylaws

Fresno Unified trustees on Wednesday night discussed adopting two new bylaws that would set the way censures are handled.

Trustee Keshia Thomas said that after the August censure of board member Terry Slatic, a subcommittee took a look at existing bylaws and realized they hadn’t been updated since 2012.

“It shortens the process, but it’s still ethical,” Thomas said about the two new bylaws that the board will vote on at its Oct. 2 meeting. “(The censure) was a catalyst to us having to take a look at the bylaws, and what do they mean, and how are they implementing it?”

Slatic was censured after a series of events that have cost the district more than $100,000 to investigate, including grabbing the backpack of a student and accusations of intimidating an Army recruiter, a wrestling coach and cheerleaders.

Slatic said he doesn’t care about censure. He said he is focused on other problems in the district, such as low reading levels at graduation.

“They can censure me all they want,” he said. “I’m not here to make my fellow trustees happy.”

Trustee Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas said the bylaws will make the process better. “I’m not trying to govern for the moment, but for the future,” she said during the meeting.

The first bylaw would explain procedures for filing a complaint against a board member. If the complaint isn’t resolved informally, an investigation will be launched that the board member would respond to in writing.

The second bylaw lays out the steps to censure a board member. If the issue cannot be resolved informally, then a request for a censure hearing can be submitted to the board president in writing.

The board will then vote whether to censure the board member, further investigate the allegations, set the matter for public hearing to adopt a formal censure resolution, or take no action. If the censure is set for public hearing, the board member in question will have five days to prepare a response from the time the censure resolution is written.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPanoo

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