By Elaine Legorreta
This is a call for the resignation of Georgia Acosta from the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees. One of several deficits is her disregard of the law and district by-laws. Trustee Acosta demonstrated either a disrespect or ignorance of PVUSD by-laws when she unilaterally hired an attorney seemingly to defend her in the dismissal of Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rodriguez.
We need forward-thinking, constructive leaders for our district. Nay votes and a negative tone in questions, posture and expressions (when her camera is on) do not provide the constructive leadership needed. Trustee Acosta’s absence at a board meeting to review the Brown Act is particularly troubling considering the appearance of multiple violations on her part.
Trustee Acosta was so wrapped up in a power grab and her perceived chance to dismiss the superintendent that procedural details didn’t seem to matter. The final straw was the attempted silencing of community comments regarding the sudden firing of Dr. Rodriguez. Let’s not stand for any of this in local government. We can do much better.
Dr. Rodriguez has proven herself to be a skilled instructional leader and communicator. She has taken advantage of social media, the web, local news sources and community organizations to raise awareness of the needs and educational growth of our students. She entertains unfiltered questions from the community via her regular “Ask Dr. Rodriguez” communique, she gives an annual “State of The District” address, aggressively pursues data to measure district progress and shares that data openly in board meetings and in written communication to parents, staff and the community at large. Quite a contrast from Trustee Acosta’s attempt to muzzle criticism by attempting to block public comment.
It appears that Trustee Acosta isn’t as informed as other board members. Is she not taking advantage of regular one-on-one meetings with the superintendent? She (inappropriately) directed staff to publish the initial “qualified” budget rating from the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and then pulled it when Dr. Rodriguez added the district response. Why would Trustee Acosta do that? My expectation as a taxpayer is that the school district would have a plan to address budget issues. That is the practice of a responsible leader.
Did Trustee Acosta hope to taint public opinion of the superintendent with this “qualified” rating? Why would Trustee, then board president, Acosta not allow Dr. Rodriguez into a meeting that pertained to her possible dismissal? Why use a non-PVUSD Zoom account for this meeting? Why were some of the trustees caught off guard by this action but not others? Employees are entitled to know how their work may not be meeting expectations. Trustee Acosta, were you afraid of Dr. Rodriguez’s responses to accusations? Who’s keeping secrets now? This is no way to manage an employee. This is no way to improve an educational program. This is no way to lead.
We need a positive, constructive, creative mind representing Area II. Trustee Acosta, resign.
Elaine Legorreta is a retired Watsonville High School Principal. Her views are her own, and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.
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