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April 19, 2021

A call for voice of reason

There are always two sides to every story, and Trustee Georgia Acosta and the three other trustees who voted to terminate Pajaro Valley Unified School District Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez need to tell us why they took that drastic action. Unfortunately, they cannot do so legally. Therefore, I am concerned by the strong sentiments and as-yet unfounded accusations raised in the recent Pajaronian guest commentary by Mrs. Legorreta.

The angry commentary declares that Trustee Acosta has failed the people. Really? How do we know that she was not trying to save the district from shocking fiscal failures that may not be readily apparent without a lot of hard work and behind-the-scenes investigation?

That is the level of critical thinking and careful research that I have observed from Trustee Acosta historically. During past meetings, she has served the district well by asking difficult critical questions, and has focused on clear fiscal accountability. She ran unopposed in her last election, signaling that her constituents have been satisfied with her decisions representing their best interests.

Why would we now be so quick to now attack her for bravely leading the actions surrounding the Jan. 27 termination of Superintendent Rodriguez when there evidently was enough valid information to also convince Trustees Soto, Schacher and Dodge that the action was necessary?

It is my understanding that the Ralph M. Brown Act and Government Code 54963 prohibit any trustee from breaching the confidentiality of Closed Session discussions. If any one of them does, it is my understanding that they could be sanctioned with resulting civil lawsuits, disciplinary action, or investigation by the Grand Jury.

While I support the people’s right to recall, I feel the better path for the public at this time would be to ask for an investigation into the information that caused the action of a majority of the Board of Trustees to be concerned enough to take drastic measures, and suffer death threats as a result. Wouldn’t that be more reasonable and of value to the public in the long-run?

Please, people, put down your pitchforks and ask: “Why WOULD Trustees Acosta, Soto, Schacher and Dodge take the action they did on Jan. 27?” As president of the board, Mrs. Acosta was within her rights to seek legal counsel from another legal firm that I understand is also under retrainer by the district, and specialized in difficult personnel matters.  

Perhaps a thorough investigation will tell us whether the majority vote to terminate Superintendent Rodriguez was reasonable. In the end, it could be possible that we would thank Trustee Acosta, rather than publicly censure her and only her.

Becky Steinbruner is a longtime resident of Aptos. Her views are her own, and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.

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