The Santa Clara County Board of Education (SCCBOE) has put off voting on whether or not to sanction trustee Craig Mann for ethics violations, moving the decision to a special meeting on August 25.
Mann showed up at the beginning of the yesterday’s regular board meeting with a doctor’s note. He informed board members that he was battling a bad cold and was attending the meeting against doctor’s orders. However, after the other board members went into an hour-long closed session to discuss an unrelated student expulsion matter, they came out to find that Mann had left.
After discussing Mann’s absence, board president Anna Song and the six other board members agreed to delay the sanction vote. Song said she wanted more time to consider board member Leon F. Beauchman’s July 21 recommendation to discipline Mann for what he characterized as racially inflammatory e-mails that Mann sent to Superintendent of Schools Chuck Weis last May. Beauchman’s recommendation against Mann can be read here.
The board set up the special, one item board meeting on August 25 to discuss the matter with Mann in attendance.
“I think the board members, including myself, felt uncomfortable moving forward with Craig Mann not being there,” Song says. To Song’s knowledge, this is the first time the SCCBOE has ever considered censoring a trustee.
“Leon [Beauchman] argued that his allegations are pretty clear in his supporting document,” Song says. “But we need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and make sure [Mann] has an ample chance to respond, and that the process, what is taking place, is very clear to him.”
Board member (and San Jose Inside contributor) Joseph Di Salvo said that he feels conflicted.
“I’m positive in my mind that there was no conspiracy to only hire white people,,” DiSalvo says. “I don’t think anything was intentional. But Craig’s passion about this made us more aware. I feel that race is an issue that we need to deal with….even the Asian board members have brought up that we need to do a better job recruiting Asians.”
Song says that if Mann is eventually censored by the board, it would essentially be “a slap on the hand.”
“It’s not like we can unseat him,” Song says.
Teresa Alvarado, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the District 1 seat on the Board of Supervisors, sat in the audience during the beginning of the meeting, but left during the closed session. When the issue of Mann’s sanctioning was being discussed by the board, she had a representative read a statement on her behalf.
In an email yesterday, Alvarado said she attended the meeting to express her concern about “the disruptive behavior of my elected representative to the COE, Craig Mann.”
“I believe that our elected leaders have a responsibility to work toward achieving results and comporting themselves honorably,” she said. “I urged my elected representative on the COE board to focus on job number one, the quality education of Santa Clara County’s children and young adults.”
When asked via e-mail if her unexpected attendance at the meeting was a sign that she’s considering running for Mann’s board seat, which is up for grabs this fall, Alvarado said “many people have asked me to consider it, but I really have not come to that decision.”