LANCASTER, CA – On November 7, 2019, the 2Urbangirls Blog published a “Letter to the Editor” that unleashed a fury of information that provided insight and questioned the stability of the current Antelope Valley Union High School District (AVUHSD) leadership. As information continues to be uncovered, and district residents begin to spill the districts deepest secrets; it leaves a thought of “how deep is this rabbit hole?”.
Antelope Valley has had its share of controversy in 2019. A picture of teachers and an administrator posing with a noose in Palmdale School District (PDSD) went viral. Over the summer, Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies investigated a racist video of AVUHSD students applying dark face paint and making racial slurs.
PSDS and AVUHSD are both entrusted with the regions voters to provide quality education to the northern tip of Los Angeles County. Both governed by School Boards elected by the voters of the area. California School Board Members are required by law to be a resident and registered voter of the school district that they serve and govern. The responsibility of the school board is to create policy, interview, hire, evaluate and terminate when needed a Superintendent.
Voters of the Antelope Valley have questioned the residence of AVUHSD Board Member John Rush. A recent record search shows Board Member Rush residence listed as 2655 E. Apricot Dr., Meridian, ID 83646. The California Government Code is very clear about elected officials residing in their district and what they consider residency.
Research also revealed Board Member Rush along with his wife purchased this home in Idaho home in 2018.rush-1
The recent Letter to the Editor also put a spotlight on the employment contract of Dr. David Vierra, Ph.D who has been the district Superintendent for almost 20 years. Like other Superintendent employment contracts through the State of California; the devil is always in the details. With little to no school board opposition over the years Dr. Vierra secured his employment, his family members, as well as current and former school board member family members employment throughout the district.salary
Dr. Vierra’s most recent employment contract signed by former School Board President Michael Dutton on July 26, 2018 essentially giving Dr. Vierra four years the entire term of an elected majority needed to secure his employment again when needed. With the take home salary of $299,361 and an increase of $9,000 every year for the next four years not including health benefits allows his spouse and his children to collect themselves if he dies. Along with base pay and his lucrative fringe benefits, AVUHSD pays for Dr. Vierra’s association membership fees and travel that total cost more than $350,000 per year. (picture) Dr. Vierra’s employment contract was ratified in a public meeting of school board.salary-
Who actually took the time to read the contents? Who represented the district’s financial interest in deciding to approve this contract?
With the final nail in the coffin for Antelope Valley Residents Dr. Vierra negotiated a termination clause that doesn’t allow himself to be fired unless 4 of the 5 school board members agree to do so.cause-1
Now with the abrupt resignation of the AVUHSD Board President Robert “Bob” Davis it is unclear how the board that almost never votes 4 – 1 or unanimously together will agree on anything especially since Dr. Vierra has been using this authority to employ his own as well as former and current school board member’s family members.
These similar issues are plaguing the beleaguered, and nearly bankrupt, Lennox School District.
Current Employees and Former Employees related to District Leadership:
Superintendent Dr. David Vierra Ph.D
Michael Vierra, Brother and Former Assistant Superintendent
Joseph David Vierra, Former Teacher, Athletic Director and now Assistant Principal East High
Crystal Rose Vierra, Sister, High School Employee
Board Member Stephanie Jill McGrady:
Dr. Steve Radford, Son – Current Regional Director of Antelope Valley Adult Education
Jodie Radford – Daughter In-Law Former Principal Antelope Valley High School
Former Board Member Barbra Willibrand:
Brett Neal, Son In-Law and current Assistant Superintendent of Personnel
Joseph Kelly, Son In-Law and current Director of School Improvement
As the leadership of Antelope Valley High School District continues to be questioned by district residents it is unconfirmed at the time of publication of this article if complaints had been filed with the public integrity unit located within The Office of Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles County District Attorney.