Posted: Dec 1, 2010 6:35 PM by Ariel Wesler
Updated: Dec 2, 2010 8:52 AM
A controversial school board member says he plans to bring change to the Santa Maria Bonita School District, but his past leaves some questioning his intentions.
Reverend Will Smith unseated incumbent Jody Oliver in last month's election. Smith taught 7th and 8th grade for six years in the district. He left in August after legal battles with the district.
It's no secret. Newly elected board member Will Smith and Santa Maria Bonita School District leaders do not get along.
"There's certainly animosity between myself and the district," Smith said.
He used to teach 7th and 8th grade. The district suspended him for 82 days for unprofessional conduct, which included pushing a student. After more legal battles, both sides reached a settlement agreement in August, but that raised another ethical concern.
"The district strongly believes that an elected official cannot be on the district payroll while serving in a seat of the governing board," said Santa Maria Bonita School District Superintendent Phil Alvarado.
Now, they want to make sure Smith's going to be a team player.
"Personally, I want to give Mr. Smith the benefit of the doubt and assume that he will come into office and serve this community as dignified and courageous as our current and past boards," Alvarado said.
"It's not a great way to welcome a newcomer onto the scene by saying 'ok, we're going to send our lawyer after you' just a week before you get sworn in," Smith said.
And while he may not be the district's top choice, the people have spoken.
"We're now entering a different arena as an elected official," Alvarado said. "It's about the kids. It's not about the adults."
Smith agrees but stresses communication must go both ways.
"I've never really had a great dialogue with the board because the board in itself refused to talk with me," Smith said.
He feels the district wasted taxpayer money on litigation against him. Still, district leaders say they will do whatever is necessary to keep operations running smoothly.
Smith will be sworn in at the next board meeting on December 8th.
PLEASE HELP US MODERATE COMMENTS
Offensive or inappropriate comments are subject to removal. To report a comment, please e-mail us at email@example.com, and include the name of the story and information on the comment.
Thank you! KSBY.com
Get deals up to 80% off here!
Find the lowest gas prices in your area
Submit your photos to KSBY
Check out our calendar of events
Watch Daybreak Web Videos in full
Save with Hot Deals across our counties!
Events across the Central Coast
Follow The CW5 on Facebook.
The KSBY online public file.
What do you think? Leave us your feedback.
KSBY is your official CA Lottery station for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties