LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Union High School District Board Vice President Victoria Ruffin on Thursday tweeted a link to an online blog that features an anonymous letter critical of AV Union High School District Superintendent David Vierra and trustee John Rush.
Ruffin’s tweet came out Thursday, several hours after the District announced the resignation of former Board President Robert “Bob” Davis. Ruffin created her Twitter account in August 2009. She has tweeted 136 times since then. She has 87 followers.
Ruffin did not respond to an email seeking comment by press time.
The blog, 2UrbanGirls, covers Compton, Inglewood, Los Angeles County and beyond, according to a description on Ruffin’s tweet.
The letter, which contains factual errors as well as spelling and grammatical errors, said Vierra “is making well over $350,000 per year.” The blog post included a screenshot of Vierra’s salary information from the Transparent California. There was also a copy of his contract.
The website listed Vierra’s 2017 regular pay as $296,159.71, other pay at $16,977.37, for total compensation of $313,136.08. Vierra’s benefits are listed at $51,515.29.
A November 2016 Antelope Valley Press story on Vierra’s salary, based on a release by Transparent California, said the superintendent’s 2015 compensation included $30,851 for redeemed vacation time, retroactive pay that went to all District employees, and extra days worked beyond his contract.
“I read his contract and YOU CAN’T fire the man if Jesus himself came and spoke during public comment,” the letter said. “To terminate David Vierra’s employment there has to be 4 of the 5 board members voting in favor. What school board agrees that much? I guess none which is why David Vierra has been Superintendent for over 20 years.”
Vierra became superintendent in July 2002.
“The personal comments and criticism articulated in the editorial fail to recognize the great work that is taking place in our schools for students every day,” Vierra wrote when asked to address the concerns raised in the anonymous letter. “Our board may have diverging points of view at times, but overall, I know they share a passion for student success and a strong desire to support our hard working staff. The points about my contract, including salary and my review process, are not news, as my contract has been presented, discussed, and approved in open meetings of the Board of Trustees.”
Comments left on the 2UrbanGirls blog expressed support for Vierra.
“Dr. Vierra is worth every penny,” one commenter wrote.
Another commenter had several grandchildren graduate from the District, and from college.
“I thank the AVUHSD for their focus on equity and college focus. Thank you Dr. Vierra!!!!!,” it said.
The anonymous writer also falsely said trustee Rush lives in Idaho, and provided an address in Meridian, Idaho.
“Frequently seen at the airport like clock work the next day after school board meetings going home,” the letter said.
“I don’t go to the airport,” Rush said Friday.
Rush said he drives to Idaho, and that it’s no secret he has a home there.
Rush offered to show his phone’s GPS records to show how much time he spends in the Antelope Valley, and how much time he spends in Idaho.
“I’m here more than I’m there,” Rush said, adding he owns two homes in the Valley and a business. He is registered to vote here and meets all residency requirements.
The anonymous letter writer failed to mention former Board President Robert “Bob” Davis owns a home in Prescott, Arizona, and apparently lives there part time, based on phone records the Valley Press reviewed previously.
Finally, the anonymous letter writer said that over the last year the Board votes have been “lockstep 3/2 on 95% of agenda items.”
“Now with the resignation of the Board President Davis causing a vacancy I wonder if ANYTHING will get done being that it will likely be a 2-2- with Board Members Jill McGrady and John Rush voting the exact opposite of Board Members Amanda Parrell and Victoria Ruffin.”
A review of the estimated 163 Board votes on regular agenda items and some closed session items from Jan. 24 to Oct. 24 show 33 instances, or 20.25%, where there was a 3-2, 3-1, or 3-0. Vote.
For example, at the April 11 meeting, Rush and trustee Jill McGrady left closed session rather than vote when Ruffin, Davis, and Clerk Amanda Parrell voted 3-0 to authorize the use of Harris & Associates to review Vierra and former General Counsel Bridget Cook’s employment agreements.
McGrady also left a May 9 closed session meeting when Ruffin, Davis, and Parrell voted 3-1 to fire Cook. McGrady at the time said she left the closed session because she believed it to be an illegal vote.