Sweetwater Scandal Prompts Vocal Response

The audience had a clear message

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Members of the public lined up to blast a school board entrenched in allegations of corruption. Steven Luke reports. (Published Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012)

    A huge and very vocal turnout Monday night at a local school board meeting could have a lasting impact on education and politics. 

    Three current and former school board members in the Sweetwater Union High School District are facing corruption charges.

    Sweetwater Debates Paying Legal Fees

    [DGO] Sweetwater Debates Paying Legal Fees
    Members of the public lined up to blast a school board entrenched in allegations of corruption. Steven Luke reports. (Published Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012)

    They wanted $400,000 of taxpayer money to pay their lawyers.

    The answer from the audience was a very loud, and emotional, "No!"

    "If the public wasn't there ‘en mass’ last night, those legal fees would have been approved,” teacher’s union president Alex Anguiano said on Tuesday.

    The gym at Hilltop High School was packed with hundreds of parents, students and community activists.

    Sweetwater Board Releases Report on PR Rep's Billing

    [DGO] Report Released on PR Rep's Sweetwater Billing
    The Sweetwater Union High School District voted to release a report by former U-S Attorney Greg Vega on on a billing investigation involving public relations consultant Scott Alevy.

    Click here to see report on Scott Alevy's billing practices

     

    (Published Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012)

    The district is racked by scandal.

    There are allegations of graft and corruption by current board members Pearl Quinones and Arlie Ricasa, and former board member Greg Sandoval.

    Sweetwater Board Meeting: Raw Video

    [DGO] Sweetwater Board Meeting: Raw Video
    One of the speakers at the Jan. 30, 2012 meeting of the Sweetwater Union High School District walks through the recent scandals that have involved the district and its members. (Published Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012)

    Prosecutors say the three allegedly accepted gifts worth thousands of dollars from construction firms and then awarded lucrative contracts to those same companies.

    The three board members want the district to pay their legal fees. But they backed down, under withering criticism from the audience.

    Superintendent Ed Brand admits that emotions ran high. But on Tuesday, he urged parents to stay focused on education and acknowledge the excellent job being done by district teachers and staff.

    “What we have to remind ourselves is, don’t get distracted,” said Brand, who said he respects the strong feelings of those who attended the meeting.

    Brand, who recently re-joined the district with a mission to straighten out its affairs, also said the school board acted properly by allowing the public to express its strong opinions.