NBC Investigates Team producer Dorian Hargrove contacted CVUSD for comment on a lawsuit filed on November 27 by Trustee Barto against Trustees Miller, Alegria, Otero, Clark-Mejia, and Superintendent Miyashiro.
NBC7 requested comment on the day of November 27 prior to posting a story later that evening, with limited comment from Superintendent Miyashiro other than that he could be available as early as Friday returning from Thanksgiving. Essentially, the story was already written, Paul Kruze of East County Magazine submitted a taped interview, and a decision had already been made to air the story. NBC7 and the Times of San Diego (Paul Kruze) published false information.
Trustee Barto’s lawsuit alleges:
- Retaliation (“depriving her of her right to hold office and the right to exercise the authority of her duly elected position”) by the Trustees and the Superintendent for “policy disagreement… over fiscal expenditures.”
Trustee Barto’s lawsuit includes mention of the following as collateral public accusations made through the media to damage the integrity of CVUSD:
- Improper travel expenses by the Superintendent and CVUSD staff
- Improper awarding of a contract by Trustee Otero
- Limits to her access to CVUSD staff and property.
Trustee Barto is represented by Michael Aguirre and Maria Severson. Aguirre and Severson’s MO is to ambush their opponents in the media by mobilizing reporters and news outlets with misleading, often salacious information that places their opponents on the defensive. Their historical tactic is to shape and control the public debate on their cases regardless of the full set of facts. Their objective is to try defendants in the media and/or create a large enough media nuisance that drives defendants toward settlement.
Statement of Facts
Trustee Barto’s frivolous lawsuit against four duly and independently elected CVUSD Trustees and the Superintendent makes accusations clearly intended to mislead the public and divert attention from issues that are currently the subject of closed board session and that CVUSD is currently unable to discuss publicly.
Ms. Barto has a right to disagree with her board peers and CVUSD leadership on policy, but she has chosen to retaliate against CVUSD for those disagreements through a meritless lawsuit in Court. CVUSD looks forward to refuting her claims in Court as a baseless, petulant reaction to her disagreement with co-equal members of the board and the leadership of CVUSD.
On November 19, 2019, the Governing Board reported out of Closed Session by a vote of 4-1 in support of filing a declaratory relief action. Despite Ms. Barto’s lawsuit, CVUSD remains focused on serving its 17,500 students across its 27 schools with a vision of “Happy kids, Engaged in healthy relationships, on a Path to gainful employment to make Cajon Valley the best place to live, work, play and raise a family.”
On $1.1 Million in Travel and Conference Costs
Most of the travel and conference expenses referred to in this allegation were actually towards teacher and school administrator trainings and professional learning. They were funded by the U.S. Department of Education, not CVUSD taxpayers. The US Department of Education mandates that districts use Title funding for these purposes during the school year for which they are allocated. Cajon Valley has made smart and effective use of Federal Title 1, Title 2, Title 3, and
Title 4 dollars. Those trainings on education reform, student resources, and teacher administration of those resources, school leadership, and innovation have won CVUSD national and international recognition from Forbes, the Brookings Institute, the California School Boards Association, and others. The governing board supported these expenditures with 5-0 vote.
Professional learning is important to support leadership and professional development opportunities in response to both CSEA and CVEA groups.
Most of Superintendent Miyashiro’s travel was paid for or reimbursed by the organizations that invited the Superintendent to speak on behalf of CVUSD. In some cases like London, Beijing, and Australia, the organizations paid a stipend to the Cajon Valley Union School District, in addition to all travel expenses, resulting in net positive revenue for the district.
Under direction of the Governing Board, district staff designed and developed a comprehensive K-12 Career Development Curriculum “The World of Work”. CVUSD owns the copyright and trademark to this one of a kind solution that has gained global demand and recognition.
The Superintendent’s travel won $1.2 million in grants from American Student Assistance (ASA) and support from The Myers Briggs Company, Google, Digital Promise, the TED organization, Arizona State University/Global Silicon Valley, and the U.S. Department of Education for World of Work and TEDxKids@ElCajon programs as referenced above. Additionally, 13 other school districts across the country have purchased World of Work which has created a new source of revenue for the school district.
Trustee Barto claims to have voiced concern, but in truth voiced her approval at Governing Board Meetings where Trustees voted on Travel & Conference. Her voting record can be found in boarddocs online (Summary Provided) https://www.cajonvalley.net/Page/10
Voting Results of Travel & Conference for Trustee Barto
VOTING RECORD FOR TRUSTEE BARTO
|Board Meeting||Vote Result||Item||Notes|
|10/23/18||Aye||Action||She made the motion to approve|
|4/30/19||Aye||Action||She made the motion to approve|
|5/14/19||Aye||Action||She made the motion to approve|
On restricting access to CVUSD events, facilities, and employees
Multiple CVUSD staff filed workplace harassment complaints against Trustee Barto. CVUSD is committed to the safety of our employees in a workplace free from harassment.
On $600,000 expenditure on media, branding, and marketing
At a time when most school districts struggle to invest in their culture and to brand and market their unique programs, CVUSD made this investment in visual media and a series of branding and marketing videos posted on the district Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBYG3glJvLs6P3-OT7PH9OQ) which includes an increase of candidate applications. While most school districts have lost student enrollment over the last seven years, CVUSD added over 1200 students. While most school districts have struggled to retain and attract teachers, applications to teach at CVUSD have surged, including in areas of severe teacher
On Otero Construction contract (from statement to East County Magazine)
Cajon Valley Union School District followed a fair, impartial, transparent, and legally compliant competitive bid selection process. The Board of Trustees in no way influenced that process or the recommendation from professional district staff to award a competitively bid contract to Otero Construction. The Board approved the recommended bid on a 4-0 vote, with Trustee Tamara Otero appropriately declining
to vote on the item. Allegations made by a losing bidder, Handy Industrial, were unsubstantiated, procedurally infeasible, and self-serving. Handy Industrial had five days to contest the bidding process and did not do so.
Cajon Valley Union School District
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