Clashes between Fresno Unified trustees shut down board meeting; Clovis Unified trustees address COVID-19 surge in schools

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Fireworks were flying as trustees for two of the Central Valley’s largest school districts gathered for board meetings on Wednesday night.

The meeting for the Fresno Unified School District ended in chaos. Meantime, Clovis Unified trustees looked for answers as the COVID-19 crisis continues at Valley schools.

Classes have been in session for less than two weeks for both districts.

“Our attorney would like to speak to you, you are interfering with first amendment rights of the public,” said a parent during one of the meetings.

Chaos erupted in the first 30 minutes of Fresno Unified’s board meeting.

The clashes began between Trustee Major Terry Slatic and Superintendent Bob Nelson and continued when trustee Slatic refused to stop talking, reading a list of grievances from school safety to the coronavirus.

Slatic talked even after the board left for recess and when they came back and cut his mic. 

After a failed attempt to continue the meeting and hear from parents, it was over. 

“You do not have the right to control the meeting. The board president is in charge of the meeting,” a trustee was heard saying.  “Alright, oh my gosh. Trustee Slatic, you leave me no choice. I’m going to have to close this meeting. This meeting is closed at 7:15 p.m.”

What do board officials say to parents who saw the meeting and thought ‘This is not a functioning school board?'”

“On behalf of the board president and the rest of the board we apologize,” said Fresno Unified Board Clerk Keshia Thomas. “We had parents there voicing their concern about what’s happening on their babies’ campus and we could not take care of business as needed.”

Over at Clovis Unified, COVID-19 safety measures took the center stage once again.

“The fact you are pushing vaccines, we are on our way to ankle monitors,” a parent said during the meeting.

In Fresno Unified, a district of 74,000 students and 10,000 employees, 300 students have tested positive and 63 employees.

In Clovis, of the 43,000 students and 6,400 employees, 86 students have tested positive and 55 employees.

More than 2,000 students are out quarantining.

“Right now the level of frustration and anxiety has officially outweighed any learning we are going to be able to do,” said Fresno Unified parent Katie Dyer.

Dyer wanted to protect her two boys with medical conditions from the virus, so she enrolled them in Fresno Unified’s e-learning program.

“His teacher tells him every day she is still a sub and is not their real teacher and she didn’t have curriculum the first week,” Dyer said.

She says there’s a lack of communication and preparedness.

So much so, she’s pulling them from the district and plans to teach them herself, enrolling them in an online charter program.

“I hope they get it squared away so all of those kids feel loved, poured into and that they feel they can go back to campus next year ready to tackle whatever next year brings for them,” said Dyer.

Both districts are urging patience as they work out the kinks during another unprecedented school year.

“Just be patient with us, we are really trying to work things out because it is necessary for our babies to continue to learn,” said Thompson.

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