Education

Fresno Teacher's Association prepares for recall election

Friday, June 08, 2012

The controversy surrounding Fresno Unified School Board President Tony Vang heats up with an election recall now in the works.

The Fresno Teachers Association says its members will spend the summer collecting signatures to recall Vang and any other trustee who supports him on the board. This following accusations Vang both lived and voted outside of the district and documents surfaced supporting those claims.

The California Education Code and Government Code mandates trustees live within the district they serve. Fresno Unified takes that policy one step further by requiring trustees to live within the portion of the district they represent. But according to county records, Vang violated those terms when he registered to vote in another district.

"In your (traffic) ticket, it shows you live in Clovis. In your voting records it shows you live in Clovis and your child goes to school in Clovis and yet you say you live in Fresno?" asked Fresno Teachers Association President-Elect Mai Summer Vue.

Vue was one of dozens of people who voiced their opinions on whether Vang should retain his seat on the board.

"This is a big circus; I mean how do you expect kids to react when they see this stuff here? It's sickening," said a representative from the NAACP.

Students from McLane High School also expressed concern during the half hour public comment period.

"I have personally not seen you set foot on our campus for the past two years," said one student.

But not everyone demanded Vang step down. Several dozen members from the Hmong community were present at Wednesday's school board meeting. Many of them supported Vang and urged board members to keep their president in place.

"Dr. Vang we are very proud that we voted for you and thank you for your exemplary job for the past decade with Fresno Unified," said one supporter.

Before the meeting was opened to the public, two board members, Trustees Larry Moore and Michelle Asadoorian walked out after being silenced by Vang. And Fresno Teachers Association President Greg Gaddams was escorted out by police after he demanded the board investigate his eligibility.

"It's not a dictatorship," said Gaddams.

At issue is Vang's residency. The board president is supposed to live in trustee area four which oversees the neighborhoods in and around McLane High School.

From 2007 to 2010 he registered to vote at a home not only outside of his area, but also outside of the entire district.

Officials with Fresno Unified said in a written statement, "Neither the board nor the district has the authority to determine Vang's residency, but some trustees argued members should at least have the opportunity to discuss the issue.

"We have these very serious allegations, with legal twists and turns and this board has chosen to stay silent," said Asadoorian.

Meantime, Gaddams said the FTA plans to officially announce its plan for a recall election sometime in the next two weeks. Once it does, he'll have 120 days to gather enough signatures.

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Tags:
fresno unified school district, fresno, fresno county, clovis, education, linda mumma
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