Fontana USD

Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/13/2013 05:18:03 PM PDT
Updated: 07/13/2013 06:49:41 PM PDT

FONTANA — The two trustees at the center of Tuesday’s school board recall election defended their records in the final days of a campaign to oust them, even as volunteers fanned out to push for last-minute votes over the weekend.

“I am only guilty of asking tough questions, and particularly about a $4 million contract with the city for after-school services,” Fontana Unified school board member Leticia Garcia said in a statement. “I stand by my vote and my opposition to the city providing substandard after-school services when we had the opportunity to bring in a more formidable provider.”

It was Garcia’s and trustee Sophia Green’s opposition to the city-run program, coupled with what recall backers claim were “repeated attacks by Garcia and Green on the integrity of the district’s administration and school superintendent” that prompted a year-long, bitter campaign to oust the two board members.

“It was a necessity,” said recall leader Jesse Armendarez of the recall effort. “It was unfortunate to have the recall. But we couldn’t stand idle any longer. …”

Armendarez and recall proponents charge that Garcia’s and Green’s decisions have severely hurt the district and its employees.

“Garcia maligned the reputation of a program that capably serves 3,500 students and their families, jeopardizing future funding that provides over 350 jobs,” said the notice of intention to circulate recall petitions.

“How do you take an award-winning program and say that it is wrong?” Armendarez said.

The city-run after-school program was ultimately continued on a 3-to-2 board vote, with Green and Garcia voting against.

Now, potentially 57,000 voters who live in the Fontana Unified School District will have the chance Tuesday to decide on which of five candidates vying for the two spots might get them, or whether Garcia and Green stay put.

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