Last week, John Caldecott filed a sworn statement with the police declaring under the penalty of perjury that Superintendent Frederick Navarro:

  • “… influenced the Board to conclude Caldecott and other Cabinet members who complained were not Whistleblowers.”
  • “… blocked investigation and thwarted all avenues of redress.”
  • “… [used] his position as Caldecott’s supervisor and Superintendent on multiple occasions to intimidate, threaten, coerce Caldecott to retaliate against Caldecott for reports of improper governmental activity.”
  • “… tried to coerce and silence Caldecott by offering additional CalPERS retirement credit if Caldecott would 1) sign a mutual non-disparagement clause, 2) sign a mutual general release and waiver of all claims and 3) dismiss all pending litigation (refers to Writ of Mandate to compel release of Whistleblower reports) (Exhibit D, Document 11). Caldecott declined.”

His sworn statement also alleges that the school board:

  • “Authorized attorneys representing the District to spend District funds to attempt to conceal public access to records, the Appellate Court decision ordered the District to release records (Exhibit B and C) and pay Caldecott’s attorney’s fees and court costs.”
  • ” Failed to investigate Whistleblower reports provided directly through the Board’s complaint policies…the Board never provided Caldecott the opportunity to address the Board as provided in policy.”
  • “Denied that Caldecott was a Whistleblower in their December 10, 2014 report (Exhibit C).”
  • “Failed to investigate repeated complaints of retaliation by the Superintendent and in fact directly turned over the complaints for him to respond. Allowing the perpetrator, Navarro, to be intimately involved in every aspect of the complaints of retaliation. This detached approach by the Board creates fear among the employees who might seek to question the District’s actions.”
  • “Accepted the Superintendent’s recommendation for termination and payout of Caldecott’s contract (18 months) without an investigation into repeated reports of retaliation brought by Caldecott specifically under EC 44110-44114.”
  • “Gave the Superintendent an “Excellent’ rating on his evaluation for 2014-15 and awarded a first-ever $20,000 bonus to Navarro for performance.”

The school board stuff is bad but the Navarro stuff is worse. It has words such as thwarted, intimidate, threaten, coerce, and retaliate. There’s even a hint of alleged hush money.


The sworn statement means that the person who is swearing is stating under the penalty of perjury that he or she is aware of a crime or crimes that have been committed and is reporting them for the purpose of follow-up by the appropriate authority.

Something could happen, or nothing could happen. The district attorney’s office could look at the case and say, “Meh,” or the DA could look at the case and think, “Geez, we’ve been taking a beating in the press lately with this whole jailhouse snitch thing. This case is our chance to land a big fish and put us back on top.”

But regardless of what happens, there will still be this sworn statement – this declaration under the penalty of perjury that all of this bad stuff happened.

In all likelihood, the school board will do nothing and will continue to do nothing until they are forced to do something. That’s standard operating procedure for them – the way it has been for decades. They won’t even issue a statement denying the charges. And you sure as hell won’t see or hear Frederick Navarro trying to reclaim his damaged reputation with some words of outrage and indignation.

Instead, all of the employees are stuck with a superintendent who will be operating with a cloud over his head, a superintendent who makes less than his no. 2 guy, who commutes from Long Beach and whose track record of improved academic performance in Costa Mesa’s Westside schools is poor.

None of this will matter to the board. They won’t fire Navarro because that would mean admitting a big mistake and also because despite their rhetoric, they really don’t care very much about the teachers in the district and so they don’t care if they’ve saddled them with a superintendent who has had someone swear under oath that he did some pretty bad stuff.

There is one solution – one quick easy way to settle this whole matter and send Caldecott packing. All the superintendent has to do is file his own sworn statement that none of Caldecott’s charges are true. See, I told you it was easy!

Steve Smith