H-SANTA MARIA

May 17, 2012 10:09 PM by Ariel Wesler, KSBY News

SMBSD remains focused on education, despite board distractions

If you missed it on our late news Wednesday night, a lot of people were pretty fired up at the Santa Maria Bonita School Board Meeting.

Their target? Outspoken School Board Member Will Smith. Community members packed Wednesday night's board meeting to show their disapproval with Smith.

Board President Linda Cordero proposed censuring him, and the board approved a committee to investigate his behavior. Meanwhile, parents have already served him with an official intent to recall.

About 200 people showed up to the meeting. Not a single person spoke out in favor of Smith. There has been so much talk of his antics, we wanted to focus on what it means for education in the classroom.

To say there was passion at Wednesday night's school board meeting would be putting it lightly.

"We will recall you," said Glenn Goldin, who's spearheading the movement to recall Smith.

As he served Smith with an intent to recall, the crowd erupted but none of it phased Smith.

"It does not bother me. They've got a long way to go," he said.

Smith has previously compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr. or Caesar Chavez with his outspoken nature.

"I have the floor and I would appreciate it if you would bring counsel into order," Smith shouted.

At times, the meeting seemed to have overtones of a melodrama with boos and hisses.

"If you decide you want to play the games and be impressive for the cameras, help yourself," Smith said to Board President Linda Cordero.

But what concerns some parents is that these aren't characters in a play, they are educators.

"The whole point is there's bigger issues," said Joe Talaugon. "My kids, these kids, that's the issue."

Ariel: "Do you worry about how meetings like last night affect the district's image?"

"Of course, you have to," said District Superintendent Phil Alvarado.

"It's starting to feel like they don't care," Talaugon said. "There shouldn't be any bickering. [It] should be cut and dry. It's about the kids. Get them what they need. Get the teachers what they need."

Whether or not Smith stays on the board, Alvarado says the district's focus hasn't changed.

"The learning that goes on in the classroom and the services provided to kids still and will always be paramount in what we do."

Alvarado say he has not received the wave of phone calls from concerned parents following Wednesday night's meeting.

However, some people are so upset, the district says a couple of parents have asked how they can run for school board.

It will take 10,000 signatures before the community can hold a recall election. Smith is not up for re-election until 2014.

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