Both Antioch School Board special meeting agenda items tabled for up to 60 days on split votes

YouTube video screen shot Antioch School Board’s special meeting on Thursday night, Sept. 2.

Householder interrupts reading of public comments, board majority wouldn’t allow all of them to be read

By Allen Payton

The Antioch School Board, during their hastily called special meeting on Thursday night in response to last Friday’s incident with a violent student at Antioch High School, heard from angry members of the public on both sides of the issue and from district staff, on the district’s Use of Force Policies and Procedures and Board of Education Notification Policies and Procedures. Both items were tabled for up to 60 days on split votes, but not before Board President Ellie Householder interrupted the reading of public comments on the first item and the board majority voted to prevent all of them from being read. (See related articles here and here)

Before reading of the public comments began, Householder offered the trustees the opportunity to speak.

“Did you receive many calls on this?” Trustee Mary Rocha asked Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

“I didn’t get a single call,” Anello responded.

“I called the administrators at Antioch High School, and they said they did get calls from people thanking them for this not going any further,” Rocha stated.

During the public comments, many were scathing against Householder for her posting of the video on her official Facebook page and calling the special meeting.

Householder Stops Reading of Public Comments

“I’m sorry I’m having a difficult time. The following comments have nothing to do with policies and procedures,” Householder said, interrupting the reading of the public comments. “We don’t have general comments on the docket, tonight. The comments need to be specific to the topic.”

“That will be hard to do on this,” Anello said. “There are some negative ones on me coming up. We can take 10 minutes to review them.”

“There are 60 pages of comments,” said Director of Education Services Amy Bettencourt who was reading the comments.

“Are we either referring to the incident or referring to you?” Rocha asked of Householder.

“No. Dealing with policies,” Householder responded. We are getting into dangerous territory talking about the student. People can say what they want about me, that’s fine.”

“There’s no name attached to it, so it’s about the incident,” Rocha said. “It is because of this incident that we are having this meeting.”

“We do not have on our agenda public comments,” Householder said. “So, I’m not going to sit here and listen to comments bashing this student.”

“I hear more of the comments about you,” Rocha said.

Trustee Antonio Hernandez then made a motion to take a break for staff to review the public comments and remove those not dealing with the agenda item.

“As the reader, I am uncomfortable determining what to read or not,” Bettencourt said.

“Maybe we can get on a conference call,” Anello said to Bettencourt. “This could take longer than 10 minutes.”

Board Majority Votes to Prevent All Public Comments from Being Read

Hernandez, Householder and Lewis voted in favor of the motion. Hack and Rocha voted against. The board then took a break at about 6:25 p.m. agreeing to meet back in about 30 minutes.

The board meeting resumed about 25 minutes later and the reading of public comments, including those negative about board members, Anello and the local media, including this publication, continued. Several were in support of Householder calling the meeting and wanting the board to investigate the incident.

Motion To Table on First Agenda Item Passes 4-1

“I really do view tonight as the first conversation of many conversations, so we will have to meet again on this item,” Householder.

Rocha than made a motion to the table the item.

Householder ignored Rocha’s motion and continued to seek the direction of a majority of board members.

Anello made a point of order that “there is a motion on the table.”

“I didn’t hear a motion,” Householder said.

“I said I move we table the item,” Rocha.

Hack seconded the motion.

“Every day we don’t have a policy on this is another day something like this can happen,” said Hernandez. “I’m very passionate about this. Just because people are doing their best doesn’t mean there aren’t pathways for doing things better.”

“I think I need to make another point of order,” Anello said. “A vote needs to be held on a motion to table.”

Lewis then attempted to amend the motion for a date certain.

Rocha said her motion was to “allow our superintendent to give us feedback.”

“Do they go to the class and talk to the young man?” she asked about how similar situations are handled by school staff. “What’s the next step, then the next step?

“I think this is a healthy conversation. But until we have a conversation about what the policies are,” Lewis responded.

“I’m not sure how much time the superintendent needs,” Rocha.

“I actually do like, personally, setting the date,” Householder. “Can we table it and provide direction around this?”

“I will add to my motion 60 days,” Rocha then said. “At this time, I call for the motion to be voted on.”

Hack said, “I’m amenable to that as long as Stephanie has enough time.”

Anello said that it was.

“As long as you table something you have to vote on it and not continue to discuss it,” Anello said.

The motion to table passed 4-1 with Householder voting no.

Robert’s Rules of Order requires the end of discussion and debate, without interruption, and an immediate vote on a motion to table without discussion on the motion, either.

Robert’s Rules of Order Motions Chart in order of precedence. See “Lay aside temporarily” in Purpose column. Source

Motion To Table Second Agenda Item Passes 3-2

The board then heard the few public comments on the next item, entitled, “Board of Education Notification Policies and Procedures,” with much the same themes.

“Like I said, this is going to be somewhat similar as the last item,” Householder said.

Hernandez, “we have this opportunity to discuss this, here, not in the future.”

Rocha then made another motion to table the item for 60 days. It was seconded by Hack, again.

Hernandez attempted to make a substitute motion to give staff 14 days to return with information on the matter. Householder seconded his motion.

He then argued incorrectly that a substitute motion takes precedent over a motion to table.

A discussion continued about the motions.

In spite of points of order by Anello that a substitute motion did not take precedent, Householder disagreed because she said “it doesn’t make sense” and held a vote on the substitute motion. It failed 2-2-1 with Lewis abstaining saying he wasn’t sure about the motion taking precedence over a motion to table.

The original motion to table was then brought back, and Lewis asked if was “up to 60 days” to which Householder and Rocha agreed.

Hernandez then said there had to be a vote on the motion without discussion.

The motion passed 3-2 with Hernandez and Householder voting no.

The meeting was then adjourned at 8:55 p.m.

The board’s next regular meeting will be held next Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Publisher’s Notes:

During the meeting some incorrect things were said by members of the public during public comments about the Herald and me. The following is to set the record straight.

Just a quick response to the baseless comment just made about me. I have never had lunch or dinner with either Superintendent Stephanie Anello nor former Antioch Chief of Police Allan Cantando, and have never even been invited, even though I’ve known them for at least 15 to 20 years. As for reporting what our elected and appointed officials do, we will continue to do so, and give all involved the opportunity to offer their perspective on a matter in which they’re involved, regardless of any friendship that might exist or not. Unfortunately, not all respond and we can only publish what people share with us or on social media, or what we must obtain through Public Records Act requests.

As for the email exchange between Householder and Anello included in yesterday’s article, for which I submitted a Public Records Act request, yesterday “for any and all communications regarding tomorrow’s special board meeting”, government officials are required by state law to provide information, which isn’t privileged, to the media and public upon request.

While they have up to 10 days to do so and can extend that for another 14 days if determined it is needed to research, review and make any redactions of privileged information, officials know the media works on deadlines and there is time sensitivity for publishing the news so the public can know about their government. Thus officials provide the requested information as quickly as possible.

The special meeting wasn’t announced by Householder on Facebook until Tuesday evening and wasn’t placed on the district’s website as an official meeting until Wednesday afternoon. So, no Public Records Act request could have been made about any communications about it, until then. Anello provided the very few documents that fulfilled the request that same day.

Allen Payton, Publisher

the attachments to this post:

Robert’s Rules of Order Motions Chart

AUSD Board mtg 09-02-21

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