Rialto Unified School District

By Beau Yarbrough, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 09/16/14, 9:40 AM PDT | Updated: 23 hrs ago

Rialto >> An attempt to recall two Rialto Unified school board members has failed, the group has announced.

“I’m sorry to report we did not reach the required amount of signatures to guarantee a recall election,” Recall Ayala/Martinez 2014 group member Michelle Sanchez wrote in an email Monday night.

School board members Joe Ayala and Joseph Martinez were served with recall papers at the March 26 board meeting. Both men are up for reelection in 2016. The group also planned to attempt a recall of board president Joanne Gilbert, but her term in office is up in November, too close to the start of the recall effort to be eligible to be a target. Gilbert ended up not seeking reelection.

Recall organizers criticized the pair’s alleged support of former superintendent Harold Cebrun, whom they blamed for “numerous and unnecessary contracts” and the depletion of the district’s reserve funds. A pair of audit reports presented to the school board in January, which showed a lack of oversight in purchasing decisions and contract approvals and more than $1 million in unnecessary expenditures in the district’s special education programs, pushed the group into action, group members said in April.

Ayala and Martinez dispute the group’s claims.

“Although we are disappointed, the committee feels that we at least got the word out that Ayala and Martinez have let down the community by allowing out of control spending, depleting the reserve of approximately $30 million dollars, allowing borrowing from the bond that is specifically supposed to go to the projects presented and approved by the voters of the Rialto Unified School District,” Sanchez wrote in her email. “Not to mention the FCMAT and Special Education reports that show at the very least negligence in overseeing the financial interests of the district and its students.”

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