AVUHSD

AVUHSD

LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Union High School District governing Board President Robert “Bob” Davis and District Superintendent David Vierra will release a joint statement at tonight’s meeting that calls into question recent actions taken by the Board majority, including the firing on May 9 of longtime in-house General Counsel Bridget Cook.

Vierra and Davis met on May 18 “in a concerted effort to discuss the specific Board Governance issues impacting the District and community,” according to a statement released Tuesday by the District.

According to the statement, Davis and Vierra reached a consensus on the following two items:

“First, the outside investigation to review concerns of discrimination and disparate treatment in the suspension and expulsions of minority students, will not be conducted. The District will review and revise its current disciplinary and student support programs and the selection/hiring procedures as required by law.

“Second, the Board will reconsider its decision regarding the employment contract of in-house General Counsel Bridget Cook.

“These steps have been taken collaboratively and in an effort to best meet the interests and needs of our students, staff and community. We will continue to work through our current Board Governance circumstances so that we can provide all our students the best education possible.”

Davis, Vice President Victoria Ruffin and Clerk Amanda Parrell voted to fire Cook in closed session at the Board’s May 9 meeting. Trustee John Rush voted no.

Trustee Jill McGrady did not participate in the vote.

“Publicly, I would like to say I think it was an illegal vote and I took no part in it,” McGrady announced after the Board returned from closed session.

The Board majority’s action was in violation of the Brown Act.

“The Board failed to provide Brown Act notice that I was being disciplined or released and the matter was not agendized for action. Failure to follow the Brown Act makes an action null and void,” Cook wrote via email on May 10.

It is not clear by the statement what “reconsider” Cook’s firing means.

Davis, Ruffin and Parrell also voted at a special April 18 meeting to authorize $400-an-hour attorney John W. Harris to pre-qualify a third party to investigate allegations of discrimination and disparate treatment in the suspension and expulsion of minority students, and in the District’s hiring and promotional practices.

That will apparently not happen now, though it is not clear whether there was anything to investigate. More information is expected to be provided at tonight’s meeting.

The Board will meet at 7 p.m. tonight in the boardroom at the District office, 44811 Sierra Highway.

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