On Wednesday night, the dysfunction of the Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees continued to show during its meeting after a series of testy exchanges, accusations and Roberts Rules of Order were all brought up.
Here is the cliff note version, followed by more in depth highlights:
- Householder, apparently at request of the family involved, removed the only consent item of the night without a vote of the Board of Trustees stating she had the authority.
- Householder claims she did not have any input on Wednesday nights agenda and thus asked for direction from the rest of the Board if they were okay with the agenda as presented (see board policy at bottom of article)
- Householder unilaterally, for the second straight meeting, pulled an item that would discuss/take action of removing her as Board President.
- Added is the exchange between Rocha and Householder after Rocha again tried to place the item to remove Householder back on the agenda at the end of the meeting.
- Dr. Clyde Lewis issues statement
Editors Analysis: It appears Householder is selectively following Roberts Rules of Order when it benefits her agenda and opinions while ignoring it when it comes to other Trustees.
Householder Unilateral Pulls Item that Would Remove her as Board President
“I will be pulling item 12B (Removal Of Board President) from the agenda because our Roberts Rules of Order the folks on the losing side of a motion cannot bring that motion back for reconsideration,” stated Householder.
Trustee Mary Rocha explained this was a renewal motion and had gone through proper efforts to get this placed back on the agenda—which Dr. Clyde Lewis asked for it to be on the agenda.
“I put it on the agenda like I was told because according to my understanding you didn’t want to hear it last time because we didn’t have proper procedure. It went through proper procedure and it is now on,” stated Rocha. “It’s a renewing, it’s not a reconsidering. So that is a difference of the issue.”
Householder thanked Rocha for the information and stated the motion was made at the last regularly scheduled meeting and because she and Trustee Hack were not on the winning side of the motion, they could not bring it back for reconsideration.
(Note – because the item was pulled at the last meeting and comments were placed in general public comments, the vote was void as the item was not properly discussed–thus the item could return as Rocha suggested)
Rocha interrupted Householder explaining it was not “reconsideration” but “renewing” which was a different way of looking at it noting if it was reconsideration it would take Dr. Lewis or Trustee Hernandez to bring it back or another member.
“It means it can be heard” stated Rocha.
Householder posed the question to the Attorney who said he didn’t know of a “renewing” process but Roberts Rules of Order, the Board could waive the rules to hear the item or someone on the winning side of the vote could bring it back.
Rocha then read in the rules noting if a “main motion is defeated it can be brought back before the assembly again at the same meeting unless it is of substantially new question but a change in wording or difference in time or condition or through special procedure to reconsider the motion. It can be brought up again at another meeting as if it were a new motion.”
Rocha proclaimed it was a “renewing the motion”.
The lawyer said it was up to the board if they wanted to have that consideration and waive Roberts Rules of Order or not—although he admitted he did not watch the last meeting—it would take someone on the winning side.
Rocha objected saying she was not talking about “reconsideration”.
The lawyer again said it was up to the Board to decide if they wanted to hear the item again.
Trustee Antonio Hernandez stated it was clear in following Roberts Rules of Order.
“I’d like to continue following Roberts Rules of Order and kind of stay as close as we can to that moving forward,” said Hernandez.
Householder thanked Hernandez for his comments and attempted to move onto the flag salute before Rocha interjected again.
“No, I can’t believe you are letting this go. I have a right to have the motion on the table,” said Rocha. “It’s a renewing motion, its not the same as reconsideration. I am sorry I am not dropping it.”
Householder then moved onto the flag salute with no comments provided from Dr. Clyde Lewis.
Householder Unilateral Pulls Closed Session Item & Claims No Input on Agenda
The Board was set to discuss Item 2A: Student Discipline or Other Confidential Student Matter: Interdistrict Transit Permit in which Householder pulled the item from closed session without a motion or a second from another Trustee.
“On our current agenda, we have a closed session item. There was a request that this item be pulled for tonight so I am going to pull it and we are going to have a separate meeting to discuss that matter so we will not have any items for closed session, which means that would just lead us into our regular agenda,” stated Householder.
She continued by then informing the board she did not consult with the superintendent on tonight’s agenda.
“I just wanted to have it on record that I did not consult with the superintendent in the development of this agenda. So, a way we can continue tonight and be able to hear everything on the agenda, I just want to get a consensus of my colleagues to see if we are okay with this agenda,” asked Householder. “In essence, what the board president does ahead of the meeting, as a representative of the board that there is a consensus here, and we can move on.”
Householder went around for consensus with no objections from Vice President Clyde Lewis and Trustees Gary Hack, Antonio Hernandez, and Mary Rocha.
“I apologize for the false start,” said Householder.
Superintendent Anello stated she believed Householder needed to call for a motion and a second in order to remove the item from closed session.
“I don’t have to,” stated Householder. “If there is a motion that is fine, but I was requested by individual that this is regarding to have this item pulled. So, we are not going to discuss it.”
The board adjourned and would return at 7:00 pm.
Its unclear if Householder is speaking directly to the student or the family regarding the closed session item or potentially negotiating on behalf the District.
Editors note: Check back for updates as a Public Records Request has been submitted as to how the meeting was prepared and the communications between Board President Householder and Superintendent Anello.
The School Board agreed to begin the process of returning to in-person school board meeting. The item came from Trustee Gary Hack who pointed out teachers and students are back in the classroom and there was no reason they couldn’t meet in person as well.
According to a Survey at the request of Trustee Gary Hack, he said of the 18 closest school districts, 13 are back in in-person meetings, 1 is planning to return soon and 4 did not respond.
Staff will come back with options from possibly plexiglass dividers or utilizing another facility which would be a larger space to ensure social distancing.
The School Board agreed to begin looking into a parliamentarian in an effort to promote more efficient, compliant, and professional Board Meetings, Superintendent Anello would like the Board to consider having one of the district’s attorneys attend future Board Meetings to serve as both parliamentarian and legal counsel. Staff will return the item at a future meeting once they get cost estimates.
Rocha Again Tries to Remove Householder as President
At the end of the meeting (5:59:30), Rocha again attempted to have the discussion to remove Householder as Board President and that she properly placed it on the agenda and had every right to have the discussion and a vote.
“I have this book right in front of me that says Roberts Rules of Order, it shows you that on Chapter 10, Section 38, page 85,” said Rocha noting she was reading Roberts Rules of Order on how to reintroduce a defeated motion called “renewing the motion” and called for renewing the motion and sought a second and should take action and bury it.
Householder attempted to cut off Rocha who kept reading the rule calling it an “illegal motion”.
Rocha got her second by Hack who called for the motion.
“You are not the Board President,” replied Householder calling her out of order.
“Again, you have misused your power,” said Rocha.
Clyde Lewis Issues Statement
“I have something,” Lewis said, weighing in on the matter for the first time. “You know, I think in terms of being mature about this whole situation, I think a deeper conversation is needed. We are a policy developing board. If the goal is, or if the conversation revolves around justifications for actions against a particular board member, I think that’s a healthy conversation, at some point to have. However, that conversation has not happened, and we haven’t laid out criteria for which that request should happen. I think we should have that conversation.
I myself, as a trained administrator, I’m all about protocol, I’m not about emotion. I’m not about any of that stuff. I am about protocol and processes.
Any decision I make, any action I take is process oriented. I think that is a healthy conversation that should happen.
As vice president I don’t have the power to put something on the board. I did recognize your comment, earlier, Trustee Rocha, and I’ll make sure that conversation happens. But I think that’s a conversation we need to have in terms of like, OK, if there are actions taken by a board member, or if there are some things that happen by a board member, how do we move forward as a board? You know. I think those conversations should happen. Those should be clearly defined. It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh, you know, this person made a decision I don’t like, so now I want to get rid of them.’ I don’t think that’s healthy. It sets a precedence that’s unhealthy for the board moving forward. That’s my opinion about that.
Now, I apologize to the board and to the public for not being here, last night. I had some personal matters I had to attend to. I won’t go into detail about it. I made a statement about why I wasn’t here. They were personal matters I had to attend to and that’s that.
(note – Lewis then asked about Use of Force, before going back into his statement)
We need a rebalancing, and I don’t know if that requires sort of a consultant to come in. If this is the level of conversation that we’re having amongst ourselves, what message or what tone are we setting for our teachers as well as our students? The students and the public are watching us. Regardless of what side of this conversation you’re on, the students and the public are watching us. This is uncomfortable. And I don’t mean to reprimand. I’m not speaking down to anybody. It’s uncomfortable. So, I’m going to leave it there.”
Below is the Board Policy on the Agenda:
The Board president and the Superintendent, as secretary to the Board, shall work together to develop the agenda for each regular and special meeting. Each agenda shall reflect the district’s vision and goals and the Board’s focus on student learning.
(cf. 0000 – Vision)
(cf. 0200 – Goals for the School District)
(cf. 9121 – President)
(cf. 9122 – Secretary)
Any Board member or member of the public may request that a matter within the jurisdiction of the Board be placed on the agenda of a regular meeting. The request shall be submitted in writing to the Superintendent or designee with supporting documents and information, if any, at least two weeks before the scheduled meeting date. Items submitted less than a week before the scheduled meeting date may be postponed to a later meeting in order to allow sufficient time for consideration and research of the issue.
The Board president and Superintendent shall decide whether a request is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board. Items not within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board may not be placed on the agenda. In addition, before placing the item on the agenda, the Board president and Superintendent shall determine if the item is merely a request for information or whether the issue is covered by an existing policy or administrative regulation.
The Board president and Superintendent shall decide whether an agenda item is appropriate for discussion in open or closed session, and whether the item should be an action item subject to Board vote, an information item that does not require immediate action, or a consent item that is routine in nature and for which no discussion is anticipated.
Any Board action that involves borrowing $100,000 or more shall be discussed, considered, and deliberated upon as a separate item of business on the meeting agenda. (Government Code 53635.7)
(cf. 9323.2 – Actions by the Board)
All public communications with the Board are subject to requirements of relevant Board policies and administrative regulations.
(cf. 1312.1 – Complaints Concerning District Employees)
(cf. 1312.2 – Complaints Concerning Instructional Materials)
(cf. 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures)
(cf. 1312.4 – Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures)
(cf. 3320 – Claims and Actions Against the District)
(cf. 5144.1 – Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)
In order to promote efficient meetings, the Board may bundle a number of items and act upon them together by a single vote through the use of a consent agenda. Consent agenda items shall be items of a routine nature and items for which Board discussion is not anticipated and for which the Superintendent recommends approval.
When any Board member requests the removal of an item from the consent agenda, the item shall be removed and given individual consideration for action as a regular agenda item.
The agenda shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to comment on any consent agenda item that has not been previously considered. However, the agenda need not provide an opportunity for public comment when the consent agenda item has previously been considered at an open meeting of a committee comprised exclusively of all the Board members provided that members of the public were afforded an opportunity to comment on the item at that meeting, unless the item has been substantially changed since the committee considered it. (Government Code 54954.3)
Agenda Dissemination to Board Members
At least three days before each regular meeting, each Board member shall be provided a copy of the agenda and agenda packet, including the Superintendent or designee’s report; minutes to be approved; copies of communications; reports from committees, staff, citizens, and others; and other available documents pertinent to the meeting.
When special meetings are called, the Superintendent or designee shall make every effort to distribute the agenda and supporting materials to Board members as soon as possible before the meeting.
Board members shall review agenda materials before each meeting. Individual members may confer directly with the Superintendent or designee to ask questions and/or request additional information on agenda items. However, a majority of Board members shall not directly or through intermediaries or electronic means discuss, deliberate, or take action on any matter within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board.
(cf. 9012 – Board Member Electronic Communications)
Agenda Dissemination to Members of the Public
The Superintendent or designee shall mail a copy of the agenda or a copy of all the documents constituting the agenda packet to any person who requests the items. The materials shall be mailed at the time the agenda is posted or upon distribution of the agenda to a majority of the Board, whichever occurs first. (Government Code 54954.1)
If a document which relates to an open session agenda item of a regular Board meeting is distributed to the Board less than 72 hours prior to a meeting, the Superintendent or designee shall make the document available for public inspection at a designated location at the same time the document is distributed to all or a majority of the Board, provided the document is a public record under the Public Records Act. The Superintendent or designee may also post the document on the district’s web site in a position and manner that makes it clear that the document relates to an agenda item for an upcoming meeting. (Government Code 54957.5)
(cf. 1113 – District and School Web Sites)
(cf. 1340 – Access to District Records)
Any document prepared by the district or Board and distributed during a public meeting shall be made available for public inspection at the meeting. Any document prepared by another person shall be made available for public inspection after the meeting. These requirements shall not apply to a document that is exempt from public disclosure under the Public Records Act. (Government Code 54957.5)
Upon request, the Superintendent or designee shall make the agenda, agenda packet, and/or any writings distributed at the meeting available in appropriate alternative formats to persons with a disability, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Government Code 54954.1)
Any request for mailed copies of agendas or agenda packets shall be in writing and shall be valid for the calendar year in which it is filed. Written requests must be renewed following January 1 of each year. (Government Code 54954.1)
35144 Special meetings
35145 Public meetings
35145.5 Right of public to place matters on agenda
6250-6270 Public Records Act
53635.7 Separate item of business
54954.1 Mailed agenda of meeting
54954.2 Agenda posting requirements; board actions
54954.3 Opportunity for public to address legislative body
54954.5 Closed session item descriptions
54956.5 Emergency meetings
54957.5 Public records
54960.2 Challenging board actions; cease and desist
UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 42
12101-12213 Americans with Disabilities Act
CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, TITLE 28
35.160 Effective communications
36.303 Auxiliary aids and services
Mooney v. Garcia, (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 229
Caldwell v. Roseville Joint Union High School District, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66318
Call to Order: A Blueprint for Great Board Meetings, 2010
The Brown Act: School Boards and Open Meeting Laws, rev. 2009
ATTORNEY GENERAL PUBLICATIONS
The Brown Act: Open Meetings for Legislative Bodies, rev. 2003
CSBA, Agenda Online: http://www.csba.org
California Attorney General’s Office: http://www.oag.ca.gov