The circumstances surrounding the resignation of former Twin Rivers USD board member Cortez Quinn were bad enough. Now they have resulted in an appointment for his replacement instead of an election. The Twin Rivers board made it even less democratic by choosing and approving his replacement with no public input from the voters of the affected trustee area. Appointee Cameron might have been at the top of the board's list of applicants, but that doesn't mean she would have been the voter's choice. Moreover, she is a charter school operator.
Why is it that charter school operators can sit on the board of a district that oversees the school's charter? Conflict of interest rules that affect public school employees and office holders don't apply to the employees or board members of charter schools. Efforts to pass state legislation to address this issue have so far failed. This double standard was demonstrated when charter founder Penny Schwinn had a seat on the Sacramento County Board of E--until she took a job with Sac City Unified. Then she had to resign her position on the County board since she was working for a public school district.
Cameron says she'll recuse herself when her charter comes up for renewal, but that's not the only issue that would come before the board that could potentially affect her school. What about decisions on district charter oversight policy? Or decisions on the authorization of new charters who might compete with hers? What about school closures? There are many possible areas of conflict. At the very least, the public should have had the opportunity to discuss this in a public forum.
Appointments are made instead of elections too often. The expense of holding a special election is often cited as justification. Democracy isn't cheap. There is a way to redress this. Voters could round up signatures and petition for a special election. They would have to be collected within 30 days. According to a previous reading of the election code by the County Registrar of Voters, the signatures would have to come from over the entire district not just District 5. Democracy anyone?
Read this for more info on how to call for a special election: