Stop Retaliation Against Elected Defenders Of Public Education
Voices Against Privatizing Education
December 8, 2015
Voices Against Privatizing Education, a grassroots coalition seeking to repeal California’s Charter School Act of 1992, announces our support of Escondido Unified School Board member, Jose Fragozo. On December 2nd, EUSD Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra, along with three staff members, filed paperwork to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Mr. Fragozo. This TRO prevents Mr. Fragozo from attending school board meetings on district property or visiting any district property, both of which are part of the job he was elected to do as a representative of the citizens of Escondido. The TRO and accompanying declarations do not back up the claims that Jose is “hostile” or that he threatened harm.
Unless more compelling details come to light, these allegations appear to be political, much in line with other treatment received by Mr. Fragozo from the board majority who have the authority to direct Mr. Ibarra and staff. All elected members of the school board except Mr. Fragozo are members of the local Republican organization and all have either direct ties or have expressed strong support of the local charter schools. The board majority continues to support these privately-run schools at the expense of the public schools they are elected to run. Mr. Fragozo is the lone Democrat and has spoken out repeatedly about many issues particularly the district’s need to better serve students who are English learners.
In 2012, Jose Fragozo was elected to the EUSD school board with 61% of the vote. He is a strong advocate for the children of Escondido’s public schools and has been vocal in his frustration over what he sees as a lack of action in serving the district’s English learners. Likely he has embarrassed the administration. Mr. Fragozo has a long history of activism and community involvement. He is the past president of the EUSD Parent Advisory Committee, and served on the EUSD Independent Citizens Oversight Committee on bond expenditures. Mr. Fragozo has repeatedly spoken out against the administration’s lack of action on the West Ed report as well as their lack of action in addressing other pertinent issues.
The board majority’s recent decision to change the method in which the board’s officers, including the president, also points to politics at play on the school board. The system for choosing officers had been in place for over 20 years and was based on rotation, meaning Mr. Fragozo was due to become the next President of the EUSD board. However, the board majority recently voted to change the way the officers are chosen – deciding instead to choose by a majority vote. This change will obviously mean that Mr. Fragozo will NOT be the next president of the EUSD. Mr. Fragozo would have been EUSD’s first Latino board president.
Additionally, the board majority recently approved a new charter for a second location of one of the lowest performing schools in the state of California that uses the controversial techniques of the “no excuses” charter schools. This school will serve primarily low income, “at risk” children and will likely divert approximately 18 million dollars of the next five years away from our public schools which have much higher test scores, Field Act compliant facilities, and unionized teachers. Mr. Fragozo did not receive his information packet in time to review the materials prior to the vote on approving the charter school and abstained from voting.
Voices Against Privatizing Education offers our support of Mr. Fragozo. We will continue to fight beside him and others who are fighting the good fight FOR the public school children and against those who would deny the public their right to be represented by their elected officials.
We ask that all who value public education join us in showing your support of Mr. Fragozo by attending the school board meeting, writing the EUSD school board or contacting your area and state representatives.
EUSD School Board Meeting on Thurs. 12/10/15
7 p.m. 2310 ALDERGROVE AVE. ESCONDIDO, CA 92029
Contact information for Escondido Union School District Board Members:
Dr. Gary M. Altenburg