I’m dating myself with that headline, I know, but it applies to the subject of this post.

The N-MUSD just lost another court battle, which continues the shutout: They have not won a decision in court against John Caldecott’s motions since he began filing them. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Here’s what just happened: John Caldecott, former 10-year exemplary N-MUSD employee, believes that you have a right to know the contents of the investigation into teacher complaints of “untruths and inaccuracies” in the Mariners El application for Gold Ribbon status. So, he filed to make the investigation results public. The district disagreed and fought it. They lost the initial decision and were ordered to make the report public. They appealed that decision and (just) lost that one, too.

But wait, there’s more!

The sad part of this latest loss is that it never had a chance of winning the so-called appeal. In the decision, the court states clearly that “…an order under the Public Records Act is not appealable.”

In other words, the district filed a motion to have the court do something it could not do.

But wait, there’s even more!

The decision stated that while the Public Records decision is not appealable, it may be challenged via “writ petition” if it is filed within 20 days of the decision. That deadline passed a long time ago.

So, to summarize, the district’s attorneys filed a useless appeal and have missed their opportunity to file the needed paperwork to try to keep the report secret.

A few questions may be asked as a result of this latest loss:

Q: Why does the district want to prevent taxpayers from seeing the investigation results?

A: They will tell you that they want to protect personnel privacy, yadda, yadda, yadda. This doesn’t hold water because: a) They have attempted to keep many non-personnel issues secret, and b) there was so much publicity on this mess that everyone already knew who had been thrown under the bus.

Q: Gosh, Steve, what is the real reason the district wants to prevent taxpayers from seeing the investigation results?

A: The investigation will show that there was faulty communication and processing of the application. What is important in the report is not what it states, but what it doesn’t. It will not state is who is really responsible for the bungled application.

Q: So who is responsible?

A: The superintendent is ultimately responsible for this mess and for the many other messes that have occurred on his watch. In this particular case, the superintendent signed the application but has not and will not suffer any disciplinary action as a result and he will not own his part.

Q: Why are the trustees allowing this to proceed?

A: Because they are rubber-stamping, weak leaders who believe and approve everything the administration presents to them, rarely ask tough questions, and fail to hold any member of the administration accountable for anything. If you don’t believe me, attend any board meeting and see for yourself.

Q: So what happens next?

A: I would say that the ball is in their court, but actually, the game is over. They filed the wrong paperwork and have missed the deadline to file the correct paperwork. But don’t expect to see the report anytime soon because they are quite content to spend your hard-earned tax dollars throwing more legal spaghetti against the court walls to see if it sticks.

Q: How can this type of situation be prevented from happening again?

A: Elect new board members this November. There are four seats up for grabs: Metoyer, Davenport, Yelsey, and Franco. Yelsey is in her last year of a self-imposed term limit, but I am guessing she is surely going to run. And Franco has announced she will not run again.

About those fish…

For a time in high school, I worked two jobs after school. I started at a deli in which they sold fish that came in barrels, just like way back when. So the saying “like shooting fish in a barrel” refers to a task (catching a fish) that is easily accomplished.

For the Caldecott legal team, which has never lost a judgment against the district, getting a winning decision is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Just a head’s up for the trustees and the administration: Caldecott’s attorneys are hungry and they love fish.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

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