LANCASTER — A field trip to Universal Studios Hollywood for approximately 200 Highland High School students in the Class of 2020; a field trip for the Museum of Tolerance for 50 R. Rex Parris Continuation High School students; a trip to Disneyland for 50 Desert Winds Continuation High School leadership students; sports trips for basketball, soccer and wrestling; and so on.

Those trips and more were among a list of 86 student field trips not approved at Thursday night’s Antelope Valley Union High School District Board of Education meeting after acting President Victoria Ruffin and Clerk Amanda Parrell left near the start of the meeting.

The Board is down to four members, including trustees Jill McGrady and John Rush, after the sudden resignation of former Board President Robert “Bob” Davis.

The meeting fell apart after Ruffin’s motion to table a presentation on filling the Board vacancy until the Board’s next meeting in December failed.

The Board voted 2-2, with Ruffin and Parrell dissenting, to adopt the agenda as posted, with the presentation by attorney Jay Fernow of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost.

Ruffin and Parrell left shortly after the vote.

McGrady said Thursday night that the Board faces important deadlines in regard to filling the vacancy. For example, if it is to call for a special election, it needs to do by Dec. 6. The Board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12.

The other option is for the Board to consider a provisional appointment. However, if the remaining Board members can’t agree on an agenda, it is unlikely they can agree on a provisional appointee.

If the Board takes no action by Jan. 3, the seat will remain open until Nov. 3, when the seat is up for election.

Ruffin and Parrell’s departure also left a tentative agreement with the Antelope Valley Teachers Association and a memorandum of understanding with California School Employees Association Chapter 612 on the burner.

The Board held a special meeting Saturday morning to approve those agreements, but nothing else.

What else did not get approved Thursday night? Everything else, including an agreement with the Antelope Valley Family YMCA for a student leadership program known as the California YMCA Youth & Government’s Model Legislature & Court.

The program provides students with an opportunity to experience government first-hand and to learn how to solve community problems through the democratic process, as well as debate and discuss issues with their peers from throughout California, according to a description.

The District’s purchase order schedule did not get approved. One of the items on the schedule includes $35,000 for nighttime deputy coverage at school events.

An agreement with Innovative Learning LLC for professional development for paraeducators to help children with autism and related developmental disorders, also did not get approved.

Ruffin and Parrell’s departure also meant donations, including $12,500 from Northrup Grumman Corp. for Computer Science/Cybersecurity pathways at District schools did not get approved.

The list of donations included $750 from the Kiwanis Club of Palmdale to Antelope Valley High School for the inaugural Overcoming Obstacles Basketball Unified Basketball Tournament, held on Saturday after the special meeting.

Speaking at Saturday’s special meeting, McGrady said she was happy the Board could come together and agree on the union contracts.

“As elected officials, we have a responsibility to our constituents to do the business of the Board,” McGrady said. “We need currently to vote on the consent agenda; we need to vote on PINCO. We have vendors who needed payment. Please, let’s be responsible; let’s work together to complete the business of the Board. I’m asking you to call another special meeting of the Board so that we can pay our bill this month.”

McGrady added the Board has a Dec. 6 deadline if it wants to give voters a chance to help choose a replacement for the new Board member.

“I would just ask that we all work together to try to do what’s best for our Board,” McGrady said.

(1) comment


At what point will the state step in to remove Victoria Ruffin and Amanda Parrell. As a concerned citizen, this is unacceptable behavioral from an elected official. They should not be able to through a temper tamper and not take care of school business,. The money they are costing the District with their lawyers is taking money away from programs, faculty and students.

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