LANCASTER — The Antelope Valley Teachers Association Representative Council will meet on Tuesday to consider whether to support the proposed recall effort against Antelope Valley Union High School District Board President Robert “Bob” Davis, Vice President Victoria Ruffin and Clerk Amanda Parrell.
AVTA President Dan Shy invited Davis to attend the Rep Council’s May 1 meeting to address member concerns. Davis attended and answered the teachers’ questions.
One of the questions the teachers asked Davis was about the perception of serial Board meetings among the Board majority.
“I would say no,” Davis responded. “You know a serial Board meeting is a serious violation of the Brown Act.”
Davis added the California School Boards Association’s Masters in Governance classes covers the Brown Act.
“But I think it’s a fair question, and there’s been a lot of questions of why, all of a sudden, three Board members vote in lock step,” Davis said. “That’s such an interesting concept because when you look at the past four years there were three Board members voting in lock step. It wasn’t me, believe me. But no one ever mentioned anything about that.”
Davis defended the current Board majority’s numerous 3-2 votes.
“Maybe we have the same vision, or a similar vision. And we do have discussion,” Davis said, adding that a Board that votes 5-0 all of the time is a dysfunctional Board.
Shy noted previous Board members would review the agenda with Superintendent David Vierra. He asked Davis whether he did that.
Davis said as Board president he has to, but he also questioned the veracity of the information.
Since Ruffin and Parrell joined the Board in December, the Board voted 3-2 a total of 23 times on agenda items through April 25.
There were eight 3-2 votes at the Jan. 24 meeting. Trustees Jill McGrady and John Rush voted no on seven of the votes. For the eighth vote, Davis joined McGrady and Rush to approve the Board’s consent calendar.
The other split votes include an item where Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell voted, without discussion, against a routine contract that would have allowed the District to recover an estimated $51,000 in reimbursable costs incurred by carrying out state-mandated programs.
The item returned at the next meeting. The Board unanimously approved it after an explanation by Assistant Superintendent Brian Hawkins.
Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell also approved a $75,000 contract 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 awarded an open-ended contract to Los Angeles-based law firm Harris & Associates, whose principal attorney, John W. Harris, charges $400-an-hour.
They also approved an open-ended contract with D’Vacor Entertainment Group, a northern California-based events and entertainment planning company led by Ruffin associate Rose Lyles.
D’Vacor was going 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.
District staff did not have an opportunity to vet the contract before Davis placed it on the agenda. The contract was illegal because it would have used public funds on personal websites for Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell, former District General Counsel Bridget Cook cautioned the Board.
Harris disagreed. Lyles later withdrew the contract, saying her company was not a good fit for the District.
A review of the past three years’ of Board minutes show nine instances where the Board voted 3-2. The minutes cover Davis’ first meeting on Dec. 9, 2015, when he and former Board member Dana Coleman voted against McGrady’s nomination to serve as Board clerk.
Another 3-2 vote on April 20, 2016, saw Davis and Coleman voting against a contract with an architectural firm for a project to establish Palmdale Preparatory Academy.
At the May 23, 2016 Board meeting Davis and Coleman voted against a consent calendar item under Business Services to use approximately $86,000 of targeted funds to convert a computer lab at Highland High School into a creative lab for students.
At the June 3, 2016 Board meeting Davis and Coleman voted against the adoption of curriculum for a culinary chemistry class at Quartz Hill High School.
The June 15, 2016, meeting is notable not because of any 3-2 vote, but because Davis abstained, without explanation, from seven consecutive votes before Cook explained that he could not do that.
The next 3-2 vote came Jan. 18, 2017, when Davis and Coleman voted against a $5,500 agreement with the Flippen Group for the Winning Cultures professional development program at Highland High School.
The Board voted 4-1 with Coleman dissenting at the Feb. 1, 2017 to have the Winning Cultures program at Littlerock High School.
At the June 8, 2017, meeting the Board voted 2-2 with Davis and Coleman dissenting and McGrady absent to ratify the collective bargaining agreement with the AVTA. When the agreement went back before the Board at the June 14, 2017, meeting Davis and Coleman voted against it.
The Board’s next 3-2 vote came on May 1, 2018, when Davis and Coleman voted against the Flippen Group’s Capturing Kids Hearts program at Littlerock High School. At the same meeting, Davis and Coleman voted against a contract with Peter Docker, a former senior Royal Air Force Officer and professional pilot, for administrative leadership training for approximately 80 head counselors and certificated management.
The Board’s final 3-2 vote came June 8, 2018, when Davis and Coleman voted against the staff recommendation to deny the petition for the Guidance Charter School-2.