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September 25, 2023

Tension, infighting at PVUSD board meeting

WATSONVILLE—The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees has convened Friday afternoon for a special meeting to discuss appointing an interim superintendent.

The board is meeting tonight to select a replacement for Michelle Rodriguez, who was abruptly fired Wednesday.

But the board has broken into an unprecedented bout of infighting.

At issue is whether public comments—more than 200 were sent in to be read or played—that are not specifically related to the agenda items, which is the selection of the replacement, can be read. 

Board President Georgia Acosta repeatedly stopped district spokeswoman Alicia Jimenez from reading comments, saying they were not related.

But Jimenez argued they were appropriate, as did trustees Kim De Serpa, Maria Orozco and Jennifer Holm.

The fighting was so pronounced that the meeting was called into closed session less than five minutes after it began.

When it reconvened, legal counsel—brought in by Acosta to represent the board in this issue—appeared to back Acosta.

But the fighting continued, and Acosta eventually backed down, warning that by allowing the comments it is placing the district in questionable legal waters.

De Serpa called for a vote allowing PVUSD counsel Lou Lozano to join the meeting, and Orozco seconded the motion. But Acosta used her power as board chair, and refused to allow the vote.

This story will be updated


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