Beleaguered board may censure one of its own

DALY CITY — For the first time since they adopted new bylaws in January, the Jefferson School District is considering public censure of a board member for “disrespectful or abusive behavior” to district staff.

The censure of Board Member Marie Brizuela after an incident last week at the district offices would not take away any of her rights as a board member, but would be a public admonishment for her behavior.

Brizuela said she was being targeted politically after an incident last Thursday in which two groups had a dispute because both thought they had use of the district boardroom. District Superintendent Dr. Barbara Wilson, however, said it was appropriate to bring the incident to the board’s attention because of the number of witnesses and how public the incident was.

A San Mateo County grand jury recommended last summer that the district, which has a recent history of disputes among board members, enforce the bylaws in an effort to increase effective governance of the school district.

Last Thursday, Brizuela and the citizens group, Native American Tribes Uniting and Regrouping for Education, attempted to set up their dinner in the board room after reserving the room, only to find auditors from the business office in the room working, said Wilson, who was not there personally.

Wilson called it a “miscommunication” thanks to a substitute secretary last May who, she said, took the business office’s reservation for the room but failed to schedule it properly. Brizuela had reserved the room earlier this month, she said, and was appropriately noted in the scheduling book.

“It’s clearly not just a personality conflict this time,” Wilson said, noting that Brizuela’s alleged behavior last Thursday was a part of a pattern of behavior.

“There was a mix-up, but you can still treat people civilly,” Wilson said, adding that Brizuela — part of the two-person minority on the board with colleague Annette Hipona — yelled at the district receptionist, the business manager and the superintendent’s secretary.

Brizuela said she didn’t know what she said last Thursday that was disrespectful or abusive, noting that it was the business manager who said he didn’t need to reserve the room if he wanted it. Brizuela and the group she was with felt disrespected by the whole incident, she said.

“We talk about dignity and respect — we need to have that for the public as well,” Brizuela said.

The Board meets Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the district’s boardroom, 101 Lincoln Ave. in Daly City.

dsmith@examiner.com

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