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We will not yield to attorney’s tactics


Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Issue 46, Volume 17.


We are proud to serve as governing board members of the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. Our mission is to serve the children of this community to ensure that every child will succeed in high school, college, and career.

Over the last two years under the leadership of our Superintendent, Candace Singh, our students have made significant academic gains due to the work and commitment of our employees. This board has raised the bar to improve the academic performance of our schools. Change is not always easy; it requires clear vision and leadership. The recent accomplishments of our students are a reflection of these efforts and will continue to grow in the future.

It was troubling to read the reporting of what occurred in a trial that never finished. The jury in our case had not heard all of Advertisement
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the evidence, had not been instructed on the applicable law, nor had begun deliberations. The individual suing the district had not even testified.

That an attorney would utilize the newspaper to coerce a settlement by attempting to embarrass this board and district is deeply disturbing. We will not yield to such tactics. We fully support the district leadership who were viciously attacked by an attorney whose motivation is so obvious.

We look forward to a new trial where the district will prevail in its decision to terminate a management employee for dishonest and immoral conduct. We are proud of our school district, our students, and the accomplishments of our employees.

Patrick Rusnell, governing board president

Patty de Jong, governing board vice president

Maurice F. Bernier, Ed.D., governing board clerk

Lisa Masten, governing board member

Siegrid I. Stillman, governing board member

Fallbrook Union Elementary School District


 

24 comments

Comment Profile ImageERIN
Comment #1 | Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm
I hope this board has the same conviction when they write Ms. Laine's settlement check.
Comment Profile ImageUnhappy reader
Comment #2 | Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm
The FUESD Governing Board chose to write a letter defending its administrative decisions; however, I am disappointed and disgusted that the letter stated the former employee was terminated due to her "dishonest and immoral conduct." There has been no verdict; the Board should be above such a vicious attack and public character assassination.
Comment Profile ImageEducator
Comment #3 | Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 7:38 am
Seriously? Typical response from our rubber stamping school board which only had one member attend the trial. Raising the bar? Head nodding and visits does not make for raising the bar. I only have one question. When's the next election?
Comment Profile ImageTrial Attendee
Comment #4 | Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 9:26 am
Dear Governing Board,
It truly saddens me that you are so out of touch with the true story; that you so blindly listen to and follow your administrators. Have you not paid attention to the absolute increase in employee problems that you have had at your district? Yes, change is hard and an increase in scores is commendable. But, at what cost? You had great employees at the school district for many, many years, never having morale issues as you have these days. Leadership and true change can come, but not at this price. Not at the price of your employees. This type of leadership is reprehensible. This type of change is absolutely unacceptable. I would even say that if Ms. Stillman and Mr. Rusnell were still teachers, they would be outraged and ashamed at the morale of ALL employees of the district and where the district has gone to (all in the name of higher scores).

Our kids in Fallbrook deserve the very best. A work environment that beats down their employees and causes them not to want to go to work everyday; an administrator that tries to cover up their wrongdoings by blaming others; all in the name of obtaining higher scores is not one that I am proud to say belongs in Fallbrook.

If you truly read the article and were aware of what truly happened at the trial, or had actually attended the hearing, you would have witnessed all the collusion, subterfuge, and tactics that your own attorney pulled during the trial. Yes, the jury did not hear all the testimony, because what was discovered was not positive for anyone that works for the District. So, please stop feigning shock and outrage at the newspaper articles when the real truth of the matter is that none of you considered this court case important enough to attend. There was only one single Board representative who showed up during the entire trial, and that was for just a few short hours on the last day, prior to the mistrial. Yes, the paper made it public what happened, but the truth is NOT a tactic. And if you believe the spin from your administrators and attorney then you are sadly mistaken.

You should be ashamed of yourselves, signing your name to something like this. District Administrators have permanently damaged the reputation of a loyal and ethical 18 year employee. Someone who won numerous awards in Technology and large grants for the District. Someone who was highly respected around the County for her ethics and leadership. You are telling the world (and your employees) that ALL you care about is the scores (like the CEO that only cares about his bottom line) and not the loyal employees within your District. Is this REALLY what we want to be teaching our children?

Sincerely,
Trial Attendee
Comment Profile ImageAllynTrialObserver
Comment #5 | Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 9:34 am
I was one of the people who attended almost every day of the trial. These FUESD Board members were not present, are uninformed and being manipulated/mislead by Ms. Singh, Mr. Proctor and the District attorneys. From where we sat Ms. Allyn's attorneys very effectively and respectfully were pointing out evidence of retaliation and mistreatment of Ms. Allyn. To paint District Administrators as "victims" being viciously attacked by Allyn's counsel is just false/fallacy. If these Board members had taken the time to go to the trial their questions and criticisms would be directed at District Administrators like... How Ms. Singh do you justify spending approx. $60,000 on redecorating your personal office and your Apple tech products? Why did you lie claiming to have evidence Ms. Allyn read youe emails and dleted files when in fact you had no such evidence? Why Ms. Singh and Mr. Proctor did you order Ms. Allyn to delete District email server if not to delete evidence of financial/ relationship misconduct, Why Mr. Bixler did you lie in trial twice about Ms. Allyn reporting these concerns to you? How Ms. Singh and Mr. Proctor do you justify hiring a totally biased investigator who works exclusively for the Districts lawyers and spending $43,000 unsuccessfully trying to dig up dirt on Ms. Allyn? Why is Mr. Proctor working with the investigator not District HR Director Mr. Bixler? Why was the District attorneys so involved in the investigation? Oh and lets not forget this question...How is it that Ms. Allyn a 18 year trusted employee with no record of discipline and a stellar reputation suddenly became dishonest, immoral and supposedly violating District policies...right after she objected to Ms. Singh and Mr. Proctors misconduct?
From where we sat, the the misconduct of Singh, Proctor, Bixler and District attorneys was obvious. The District Boards ignorant, blind trust in District Administrators and their lawyers is a complete failure to do their job and investigate what really went on in this case. I wonder if their letter in the VN and circling the wagons around their Administrators and lawyers is to cover their own laziness and failure to do their job as Board members...they should be embarrassed. Mr. Rusness and Board, before your next joint letter to the VN how about being familiar with the actual trial records...
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #6 | Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm
A judge is about money.
An attorney is about money.
An education administrator is about money.
A teacher is about money.

See a pattern?
Comment Profile ImageFallbrooklawyer
Comment #7 | Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm
I wonder if the District Board and their counsel realize if Ms. Allen's termination is shown to be wrongful and they cant prove she was "dishonest and immoral" this ill advised letter the Board published and individually signed??? is defamatory per se. Did they not run this letter by their lawyer? Seems in their haste to further cover what seems like a series of legal blunders, they just made another BIG one exposing each of them individually and the District to more allegations, or a second suit and more damages...not too smart! I guess they figure its not their money? Wait, they individually signed so they will likely get named individually and it will be their money at risk. I wonder if that will change their next letter, which should be a retraction and apology. Seems like they have a lot of problems in that district. These are the people responsible to oversee administrators and teachers educating our children. I agree with "Educator" replace them all at next Election!
Comment Profile ImageLe Mou
Comment #8 | Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm
Disgusted can be the only reaction after reading the School Board’s statement calling Mrs. Allyn’s conduct “dishonest and immoral”. The FUESD Board should be thoroughly ashamed of itself for such mudslinging tactics. Mrs. Allyn has a long record of distinguished public and professional service to the Fallbrook community. I would be nice if you could say the same for a school board where only one member could be interested enough to attend only a few hours of the unfinished trial . It would be good to have a Board that looks into what is really happening in the FUESD before making decisions. It is appalling that the Board is content to go on rubber stamping Mrs. Sing and Mr. Procter’s actions rather than the job they were elected to do. The next Board election is only months away. It is time for residents of the District, whether or not they have young children in the District, to learn what is going on and vote for a board that is more interested in doing the job they sought than in having the title and just being a rubber stamp for the Superintendent.
Comment Profile Imagecant stop a blown whistle
Comment #9 | Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm
I hope you all are enjoying how your tax dollars are being spent. I'm glad I got out of Fallbrook when I did, looks like the future generation is going to be subjected to one of the worst administrations possible.

The people running this sham of a district are incompetent, dishonest, callous individuals. Ordering Mrs. Allyn to delete email records, then firing her when she refused? Spending 60 grand on Candace Singh's office? Hiring a private investigator to investigate Mrs. Allyn?

I had no idea that an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL district could be this shady. Screw the mafia, I want job in education.
Comment Profile ImageDISGUSTING
Comment #10 | Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm
This letter written by the board is absolutely disgusting. They lament that the Village News reported on the trial even though the trial was not completed. Who’s lawyers delayed the trial by taking an inordinate amount of time to interview witnesses, thus causing the mistrial? The district's lawyers! And then the board members judge and condemn the plaintiff as “dishonest and immoral”?! For shame!

How many F.U.E.S.D. board members were present in court any day of the trial? ONE person, ONE day and that person was not a board member when the original incident took place in the district.

If the students have improved their academic performance, it is because of the teachers working tirelessly with students. Yet, teachers received a pittance of a pay raise last year while the board approved extending contracts and HUGE pay raises for some F.U.E.S.D. administrators. This occurred last summer by the way! Village News, can you please report on that particular board meeting? Also, someone needs to look into the remodeling done to Superintendent Singh’s office that cost THOUSANDS and thousands of dollars! That did not aid any Fallbrook students in improving their academic performance!

Sadly, it looks as though Ms. Singh, Mr. Proctor and Mr. Bixler have an agenda of greed and power and the board members are signing their approval! Ms. Allyn was unlucky enough to get in their way.
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #11 | Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 10:17 am
I am shocked that the board of directors, some of whom I know personally, would sign their names to such a defamatory letter! There has been no verdict rendered in this matter, and to label someone as dishonest and immoral is not only below the belt, but possibly dishonest and immoral of them to say such a thing!! I'm surprised that the board attorney would allow them to say it in print. If it isn't true, the district may not only be stuck with back wages, but a law suit for defamation of character as well.
Comment Profile ImageABCFALLBROOK
Comment #12 | Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 10:54 am
The written language skill demonstrated in this statement by the FUESD board is as terrible as is the message communicated. Did you each proofread it before signing that this piece reflects your thoughts? Embarrassing! What was your purpose in submitting this statement? Did you intend to give yourselves unsolicited accolades without mentioning teacher and student hard work, reprimand an attorney, or further degrade a fired staff member? I am embarrassed for you.
Comment Profile ImageNOT PROUD
Comment #13 | Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 7:37 am
Well, there are people like me that are not proud to say that they chose to work for FUESD, the most dysfuntional district in the county. This district has made way too many uninformed and illogical decisions over the years including writing this letter. One management person is notorious for greed and hoarding money in varied accounts that should have been spent students, supplies and employees. Mrs. Singh has made so many frivilous changes that the morale is at an all time low at every site including the DO. Her vain need for remodeling her office area only shows her immaturity and lack of focus on the issues that matter to the students, their families and the employees that have to work for her. I certainly hope that the five people signing this inappropriate letter find the time to attend the trial, to hear all the evidence, and not be so quick to think that these people are such innocents.
Comment Profile ImageReal change for a change
Comment #14 | Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 9:05 am
I only hope this wakes up the voters in this town. The solution for this problem and most of the California school problems is for the voters here to do what Douglas County voters did in Colorado. Everybody that feels the California school system is broken needs to read this and follow Douglas Counties lead. http://unionwatch.org/the-big-apple-and-little-dougco/
Comment Profile ImageOMG
Comment #15 | Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm
What was the Governing Board thinking?? In trying to defend themselves this letter just made them look unprofessional, small and petty. If the District's attorney approved this letter than it is no wonder that the District is in so much trouble. Time to clean house and elect a new Governing Board!
Comment Profile ImageReal Change?
Comment #16 | Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm
Rather than make comments based on one-sided half truths, try informing yourself about what is really happening with public education. Stop blaming teachers and unions, plus this situation did not even involve a teacher. Spend a little time with the Network for Public Education, and you will understiand better who and what is motivating educational policies these days. Lee, you would benefit from doing a little research, too.
Comment Profile Imagenot a union issue
Comment #17 | Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm
As for comment #14: Please read the letter to the editor and you will find that this lawsuit has nothing to do with any union or teaching issue. It is not a California problem it is a FUESD problem. Thanks for wanting to wake up the voters. It isn't easy to do. Maybe you could try to run for the board and see how far your anti-union sentiment gets you.
Comment Profile Imagesays it all
Comment #18 | Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm
This letter was a bad, bad idea if the board and the management employees are truly innocent of the claims by this woman. Not a mature approach by people who should be professional. Me thinks they protest too much. Time will tell.
Comment Profile ImageStepford at FUESD
Comment #19 | Monday, Nov 18, 2013 at 9:24 am
The board should have sat in on the trial, and only then would any of you have a true perspective on what is going on that is "deeply disturbing"
The board should not have called Ms. Allyn's attorney's interview by VN an attempt to "coerce a settlement" opposing counsel had the same opportunity to reply to questions by the VN. The "deeply troubling" fact is that you, the board, took this case to the public by writing a letter to the Editor. The blame or accusations of misconduct fall on you, the board, Singh, Procter, and Bixler.
Comment Profile ImageNew List of Defendants
Comment #20 | Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm
Governing Board,
Can you say "LIBEL"? If this is a new word for you, and apparently it is, you should look it up.
Hopefully, Ms. Allyn will run for the Board in the next election. She would probably win by a landslide! The citizens of Fallbrook need to wake up and make some changes.
Comment Profile ImageCommunity Member
Comment #21 | Sunday, Nov 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm
I looked on the FUESD website and could not find salary information for Mrs. Singh, Mr. Bixler, and Mr. Proctor. The highest management salary information was at the director level, and I found this under Human Resources. When I searched the site, the School Accountability Report Card listed the superintendent’s salary at $163,200, and that was for 2010-2011. That would have been Dr. Jacob’s salary, and he was doing both the assistant superintendent and the superintendent’s job. Since then, an assistant superintendent has been added and countless other administrators such as a director, and assistant principals. Dr. Jacobs, and his administrative team, were responsible for initial identification and implementation of several of the successful practices in place now. Shame on the board for paying Mrs. Singh a higher salary than Dr. Jacobs, when she is responsible for only one position. Shame on Mr. Proctor for claiming that the funds shown in the budget were only on paper, and then when Mrs. Singh, a friend of Jennifer Jeffries, came on board, suddenly there was a 30% reserve that had to be spent. Why does the board only listen to the superintendent and not the community they represent? It’s a lack of governing ability when parents feel it isn’t worth the effort to address the board, because the board ignores them. This latest letter illustrates this perfectly. VN, please investigate the salaries and perks given this cabinet.
Comment Profile ImageWant's to know
Comment #22 | Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm
"Community Member" message #21 I agree with you 100%! It is like there is a black out of information on how our F.U.E.S.D. administrators who are public servants are using public funds. Not to mention abusing their power by wrongfully dismissing employees and relocating teachers who "displease" them. Teachers and other employees of F.U.E.S.D. may be reluctant to question the administrators because of this bullying. Kudos to the V.N. for covering the trial and huge kudos to this newspaper if they would delve into the money secrets kept by the F.U.E.S.D administrators!! PLEASE V.N. could you tackle this???
Comment Profile Imageconcerned citizen
Comment #23 | Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 1:44 am
I agree with #21 and #22. Please VN investigate further. Ask the tough questions, follow the money trail, if it wasn't deleted when they forced Mrs. Allyn to get rid of the emails.
Comment Profile ImageBring back the STOCKS!
Comment #24 | Saturday, Dec 14, 2013 at 10:54 pm
What an amazing letter! I will be using it as a "talking point" with my 4 elementary children to discuss what the term "libel" means. I am hopeful that the individual Board Members, not just the school district, will have to pay the monetary damages for those remarks, because there is zero possibility of them being proven. I am even more hopeful that part of the settlement/verdict/damages will include the requirement for each member of the School Board to write an individual apology to Ms. Allyn in this newspaper. We used to put people in stocks on the village lawn and throw rotten vegetables at them when their behavior warranted humiliation. First time I have waxed nostalgic about putting people in stocks...another talking point for my children.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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