LANCASTER — Proponents of the recall effort against Antelope Valley Union High School District Board President Robert “Bob” Davis, Vice President Victoria Ruffin and Clerk Amanda Parrell have until Oct. 1 to collect an estimated 25,000 signatures from registered voters in each of the Board member’s respective trustee areas to trigger a recall election.
The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office approved the recall petitions for Davis, who represents Trustee Area No. 3; Ruffin, Trustee Area No. 5, and Parrell, Trustee Area No. 4 on Monday, a spokesman confirmed Monday afternoon.
That started the 120-day countdown for the collection of signatures to begin. Only those registered voters who live within the boundaries of the individual trustee areas for Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell can sign the petition for the area where they live.
Proponents need to collect a minimum of 20% of registered voters’ signatures in each Trustee Area to trigger a recall election based on the number of registered voters in each trustee area.
Davis’ Trustee Area No. 3 has 39,821 registered voters, according to figures provided by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office. The minimum 20% of registered voters means petitioners would need to collect at least 7,964 signatures. Parrell’s Trustee Area No. 4 has 34,164 registered voters. The minimum 20% of registered voters would be 6,833 signatures.
Ruffin’s Trustee Area No. 5 has 36,938 registered voters. So proponents would need to collect 7,388 signatures to meet the 20% minimum requirement.
County elections officials recommend petitioners collect more signatures than the minimum required to have a cushion in the event of invalid signatures.
Recall proponents setup a website, www.avboardrecall.com, with links to the District’s five trustee areas where supporters can check to see if they live within Davis, Ruffin or Parrell’s individual trustee area.
The site is expected to have regular updates now that proponents can begin circulating the recall petitions.
Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell face a potential recall election after a series of controversial decisions by the trio who comprise the Board majority.
Those actions include approving a $75,000 contract for four months’ work with Davis associate Kathleen Van Antwerp’s Full Circle Consulting Systems Inc. for a pilot implementation of the group’s S.T.O.P. Educational model.
The Board majority also approved a three-year open-ended contract with Los Angeles-based attorney John W. Harris. Harris charges $400-an-hour for his services. The California School Boards Association on May 22 sent a cease-and-desist letter to Harris after learning he misrepresented himself and his firm Harris & Associates’ educational credentials on his website.
Davis, Ruffin and Parrell hired Harris at the Jan. 24 meeting despite the District’s existing contract with educational law firm Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost, and longtime in-house General Counsel Bridget Cook, who the trio later fired in closed session — in violation of the Brown Act — at the May 9 meeting.
Davis, Ruffin and Parrell also awarded an open-ended contract to D’Vacor Entertainment Group, a northern California-based events and entertainment planning company led by Ruffin associate Rose Lyles to create individual websites for the trio, at an estimated cost of up to $5,000 each and $1,000 a month for maintenance.
The contract also included travel expenses; Cook deemed the contract illegal because it called for spending public funds on personal websites for the Board majority.
Lyles later withdrew the contract.
Davis, Ruffin and Parrell also voted against implementing the Parent Institute for Quality Education at Knight High School for a third time despite support for the successful program.
In addition, Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell voted against a 2% ongoing pay raise and 2.5% one-time bonus for the employees that include district administrators as well as school site principals and their executive secretaries, security directors and confidential employees such as those who handle personnel data.
Their action came after the Board approved similar packages for teachers and classified employees. Ruffin, who works as director of special education for the Oxnard Union High School District, received a 1% raise from her school board on Jan. 23.
Davis, Ruffin and Parrell also approved a $48,500 contract with a newly formed security company led by Bruce Frank, a former co-worker of Davis, to conduct a security analysis of the District.
The Board majority also changed the day and time of Board meetings from 5 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of the month to 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. Ruffin said the change was to accommodate any commuters who wanted to attend meetings.
However, Ruffin’s employer, Oxnard Union High School District, holds its Board meetings the first and third Wednesday of the month. The change negatively impacted student leaders from throughout the District.
Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell also voted to spend $1,500 on District-issued iPhones for themselves — only three people to have a District-issued iPhone. They also approved spending nearly $6,000 to purchase new iPads and Microsoft Surface tablets for themselves, and more than $10,000 to attend the National School Boards Association conference in Philadelphia in March.