San Dieguito school district extends terms for Independent Citizens Oversight Committee members
The San Dieguito Union School District board voted June 4 to extend the terms for volunteer members serving on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, the group that minds the district’s spending of Prop AA bonds.
Members can now serve three consecutive two-year terms rather than just two.
The Strict Accountability in Local School Construction Bonds Act requires school districts to appoint a Citizens Oversight Committee after a bond election to monitor the expenditures of bond revenues and inform the public of any waste or improper use of taxpayer money.
When San Dieguito’s committee was established in 2013 after the passage of Proposition AA, members could serve no more than two consecutive terms. The California Education Code has since been amended to allow the board to appoint members to serve up to three consecutive terms.
The vote for the extended terms was 3-2 with trustees John Salazar and Mo Muir voting no.
Salazar said he thinks there should be turnover on the committee, adding that the voters passed Prop AA under a certain understanding and the district shouldn’t be able to change it now.
“I think it’s a glaring and very nasty thing to do to the voters in our district,” he said.
President Beth Hergesheimer said that she doesn’t feel that two-year terms are a “hugely excessive” amount of time, and that the district is fortunate to have had so many great candidates willing to serve.
The change “gives us some option,” Hergesheimer said.
Trustee Amy Herman said that logistically, the third term helps maintain some stability on the committee. Since the committee members all started at the same time, the risk is that they all may leave at once. Herman said she liked the option of having some continuity for six years versus four years with member carryover.
Trustee Joyce Dalessandro addressed Salazar’s concerns about members staying longer and developing relationships with staff that could influence their judgment and decision-making.
“They are watching our spending that we do and I trust that none of them have been influenced (by staff),” Dalessandro said. “I bless those people who chose to stay for a third round of it.”
Salazar remained firm in his position that the term limits should stay limited to two.
“The bottom line is, the district went out and made a promise to taxpayers,” Salazar said. “We shouldn’t be able to go back and change the rules.”
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