School District files lawsuit against parent
Jennifer Miller, a trustee at the Cold Spring School District, filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission after a group campaigned against Cold Spring’s L2020 Bond Measure during the November 2020 election.
The Fair Political Practices Commission received the complaint March 24 and has 14 days to decide if it will open a case.
The group operated by two names, Taxpayers for Responsible School Spending and Our Students Deserve Better Committee.
The complaint alleges that the organizations did not properly file a statement of organization with the FPPC or report expenditures.
Committees must register with the FPPC and report contributions and expenditures if they receive at least $2,000 in contributions or spend $1,000 in expenditures.
The complaint points to a half-page ad in the Montecito Journal, mailers, postcards and yard signs as expenditures.
Yuri Calderon, chief business official and general counsel for Cold Spring, board member Gabrielle Haas and Dylan Johnson, Cold Spring parent, verified the letter of complaint.
The L2020 campaign resulted in a vote of almost 52% in favor of the bond measure, but it needed 55% to pass.
Cold Spring School District, which operates an elementary school in Montecito, filed a lawsuit March 10 against Amanda Rowan, alleging workplace harassment. (Ms. Rowan filed editorials with local media outlets during the November election strongly opposed to L2020.)
The district’s board of trustees released a statement March 17 regarding legal expenditures of $100,00. The statement does not identify the party in question, just labels them “the parent.”
The statement points to a September 2020 incident in which Superintendent Dr. Amy Alzina called a parent “in the ordinary course of managing the school environment.”
After the conversation, the parent retained Tim Cary of the local law firm of Price, Postell & Parma, LLP. Mr. Cary sent the district a cease-and-desist letter Nov. 13.
From Dec. 10 to March 15, Mr. Cary submitted five requests for public records of a broad scope, including video surveillance. The district states it has produced several hundred records and is still using resources to fulfill his demand.
The parent continued to file complaints, one directed at Dr. Alzina, and another cease-and-desist letter.
March 8, the district received a letter from a lawyer representing the California Teachers Association, stating a negative effect on morale and feelings of safety regarding the incident.
In the case against Ms. Rowan, the district seeks protection for four parties, including two teachers, an office assistant and a teacher’s husband who helps out with the classroom.