Just when you thought things could not get worse, they did.
The Antelope Valley Union High School District Board drama got even worse last Thursday when acting Board president Victoria Ruffin and Clerk Amanda Parrell walked out of a meeting, leaving several agenda items unaddressed. Among the items were field trips for high schools students, the appointment of a new Board member to fill Robert Davis’s seat and a tentative agreement with the Antelope Valley Teachers Association and Memorandum of Understanding with the California School Employees Association Chapter 612.
The duo departed after Ruffin’s motion to table a presentation on filling the Board vacancy until the 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.
We predicted that this would happen, considering the Board was never able to agree on anything in the past and the “gang of three” always got their way because they were the Board majority.
Now that the number is even, it’s highly unlikely that the group will be able to come to an agreement on anything. Even if Ruffin and Parrell did agree with a motion, they would probably vote against it, just to defy the other two Board members. Yes, they seem that petty.
Because they walked out of the Thursday Board meeting, a special meeting was called on Saturday morning, but instead of revisiting the agenda items they failed to address Thursday night, they met for the sole reason of approving the agreement with the Antelope Valley Teachers Association and MOU with the California School Employees Association Chapter 612.
The following items did not get addressed during Thursday’s meeting:
• An agreement with the Antelope Valley Family YMCA for a student leadership program
• A purchase order, which included $35,000 for nighttime deputy coverage at school events and
• An agreement with Innovative Learning LLC for professional development for paraeducators to help children with autism and related developmental disorders.
Ruffin’s 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 Tourney, held on Saturday after the special meeting.
The inaction of the Board because of the departure of Ruffin and Parrell proves once again, that there is no interest in the well-being of the students. This is not a reflection of Jill McGrady or John Rush. We believe they have tried to handle Board business in the most professional way possible. Ruffin and Parrell, however, have proven otherwise. They are not above walking out of an important meeting and putting on hold, money that could help the students, because they didn’t get their way.
Their actions (and inactions) speak volumes. They need to set aside their ill feelings toward the other Board members and do what they were elected to do, which is to serve the students in the districts they represent. If they run for their seats again, we can only hope that voters in their districts remember the decisions Ruffin and Parrell made and the representation they provided.