Yet another report came out this past week that puts the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in a bad light. The Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury weighed in on the dysfunction roiling the East San Jose school district with a call for the notoriously obstructionist board majorityâtrustees Khanh Tran, Esau Herrera and Dolores Marquez-Fraustoâto resign.
The 24-page report also advises the board to cut ties with Del Terra Real Estate Services, the firm thatâs suspected of fraud yet tasked with managing hundreds of millions of dollars in construction bonds. While civil grand jurors have no enforcement authority, reform advocates hope their findings will add enough pressure to finally convince Tran, Hererra and Marquez to step down.
While the grand jury highlighted problems already cited in past probes, Raymond Muellerâone of a handful of candidates running against the Alum Rock Three in Novemberâsays he hopes it spurs some action.
âI think that it has provided a new energy,â Mueller says of the grand juryâs take.
It also details some of Herreraâs intimidation tactics. According to the report, the bellicose board president made a not-so-veiled threat against Alum Rockâs chief business officer for calling attention to some of Del Terraâs questionable billing practices.
âBy the time Iâm done with you, you wonât recognize your name,â Herrera reportedly said sometime in the fall of 2016.
Trustee Andres Quintero, whoâs running for re-election, says thatâs pretty typical behavior for Herrera and his allies on the five-member board.
âThat was just the tip of the iceberg,â he says. âThose kinds of comments are common in closed sessions, but that was the first time itâs come out because someone came forward and corroborated it.â
Quintero says heâs heartened to see more whistleblowers come forward.
âThereâs a board majority thatâs out of control,â he says. âThereâs really no other option but for these folks to leave.â