Second effort by Antioch School Board president to go after superintendent falls flat shows continued split before closed session

Only four trustees attended the special Antioch School Board meeting on Tuesday evening, Sept. 21, 2021, along with Superintendent Stephanie Anello (center top) and the district’s attorney, Lou Lozano (center bottom). Video screenshot

No action taken with VP Lewis absent; split 2-2 on how long public comments should be, Householder unilaterally reduces them from 3 to 2 minutes; she violates Robert’s Rules of Order, again

“We can’t just get filibustered all night” – Area 1 Trustee Hernandez

“It sounds like a poorly written soap opera” – public comment

By Allen Payton

Before holding the closed session to discipline, dismiss or remove Superintendent Stephanie Anello during their special meeting on Tuesday night, the four members of the Antioch School Board in attendance split 2-2 on how many minutes would be allotted to each public comment. It was the second special meeting called by Board President Ellie Householder, this month and during which nothing was accomplished. She shared in a statement issued Monday, as her reasons for calling the meeting and wanting to take the action against Anello, district students’ poor performance and test scores over the past few years. (See related articles here, here and here) (See meeting video)

Following the closed session, Householder announced that no action had been taken, as was expected with the continued split on the board and only four trustees in attendance.

This is also the second time Householder has gone after Anello, and during a special board meeting, as well. The first time was last December, just four days after Householder was elected board president on a 3-2 vote of the trustees, hoping she had the support of the two new members who gave her the one-year title and position. It was done under her explanation of discussing the evaluation process of Anello, which wasn’t scheduled to happen until this June. But the public wasn’t buying that and submitted over 260 public comments and a petition with over 1,400 signatures in support of Anello.

But residents weren’t buying that and submitted over 260 public comments, mostly in support of Anello, as well as an online petition with over 1,400 signatures in support of the superintendent.

During that meeting, as the Herald previously reported, Householder claimed there was a misperception due to an “issue of language” saying it was not for the actual evaluation. She expressed concern over “establishing metrics for the evaluation amidst a pandemic with constantly changing circumstances as it pertains to the education of children in the district.” She also said she wanted to involve new trustees, Antonio Hernandez and Dr. Clyde Lewis, in the process.” (See  related article)

Tuesday’s meeting began at 5:30 p.m. with the district’s outside attorney, Lou Lozano, present at Householder’s request, but Board Vice President and Area 3 Trustee Lewis absent, of which he informed the Herald on Monday, due to a work conflict.

Householder estimated the public comments submitted might last as long as three hours. She asked the other three trustees if the time should be reduced to two minutes for each. Trustee Mary Rocha and Area 4 Trustee Gary Hack supported keeping them three minutes

“We can’t just get filibustered all night and not get our work done,” Area 1 Trustee Hernandez said, speaking in support of reducing the public comments to two minutes.

“I just wondered, if it was your employment, would you want public comment limited?” asked Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

“I’m going to say, I’m the board president and they will be two minutes,” Householder then said.

“Wow. You’re being a bully” Rocha said.

“You don’t have the authority,” Hack interjected.

“Trustee Hack, you are not recognized,” Householder said.

“We have our attorney with us and I’m trying to be respectful,” Householder said.

“You don’t have the authority,” Hack said, again, without being recognized.

“Trustee Hack, I’m trying to be very kind right now but we’re going to be moving on,” Householder said.

Public Comments

AUSD BOE Public Comments 9.21.2021 Pt1     AUSD BOE Public Comments 9.21.2021 Pt 2

The 127 pages of public comments were then read and almost all of them were in support of Anello and critical of Householder. Some were also critical of Hernandez, Lewis and the board as a whole. Many called for Householder to resign or be removed as board president, which is on the board’s regular meeting agenda for a vote on Wednesday night. (See related article)

“It sounds like a poorly written soap opera,” read one public comment, regarding the calling of the special meeting.

“Why do I feel like I moved to Jerry Springer’s hometown?” another member of the public asked in their written comments.

The most serious comment made against Anello was by Willie Mims, representing the NAACP East County Branch for which he serves as Education Chair.

The board took a brief break at 7:50 p.m. with 50 pages of comments left to be read.

Where Was Lewis?

On Monday Lewis told the Herald, “Tuesday, I’m not available. I have to work. I can’t make that meeting. I have a work meeting at that time.”

Efforts to reach him shortly after 8 p.m. asking if his work meeting was done, and if he could join the meeting, since the public comments were still being read, and then again at 9:20 p.m. after the reading of the public comments were finished, asking if he was still at work, were unsuccessful.

Rocha Tries to Adjourn Before Going into Closed Session

At 9:20 p.m., after over three-and-a-half hours of public comments, during which only seven exceeded the two-minute time limit, the board took another brief break.

When they returned, Rocha asked Householder, “Is Dr. Lewis going to be in attendance?”

“I don’t know,” Householder replied.

“In that case, I move to adjourn this meeting,” Rocha said.

Householder Violates Robert’s Rules of Order, Again

The sound cut out briefly, but then Householder, ignoring Rocha’s motion said to her, “let’s go into closed session and you will have the floor, then,” giving Rocha the chance to bring it up, again in closed session.

Robert’s Rules of Order Motions Chart in order of precedence. From RobertsRules.org

According to Robert’s Rules of Order, Rocha’s motion to adjourn carries the second highest level of precedence of all motions, and Householder was required to recognize it and, if seconded, immediately hold a vote on it, without interruption, debate or amendment.

No Action Taken During Closed Session

Then the four board members and the district’s attorney adjourned to the closed session and the district’s YouTube channel feed was cut off. It lasted until 10:30 p.m. and when the board returned, Householder reported out and merely said, “Report from closed session, no action was taken.”

They then voted to adjourn the meeting and it passed on a 4-0 vote, with Lewis still absent.

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the attachments to this post:


AUSD BOE Public Comments 9.21.2021 Pt 2


AUSD BOE Public Comments 9.21.2021 Pt1


AUSD Board mtg 092121


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