Firing final for Modesto High campus supervisor; Enochs pool deal in place

naustin@modbee.comNovember 12, 2013 

A group of Modesto High School students and alumni gathered along Paradise Avenue in front of the school Thursday afternoon (10-31-13) drawing honks and waves of support from passing motorists as part of a walkout protest in support of Jackie Munn, a campus supervisor who was fired involving an incident at school that Munn intervened upon.

ELIAS FUNEZ — efunez@modbee.com Buy Photo

The Modesto City Schools board sealed a construction deal for the Enochs High pool Tuesday night and took final action to fire Jackie Munn, the Modesto High campus supervisor whose case drew a nationwide outpouring of support.

Signatures on a Change.org petition drive topped 166,000 Monday, but even the Modesto High grad who started the effort and rallied a protest in front of the school Oct. 31 was not present when final deliberations began Tuesday evening. The case has brought cautions from the union that could affect how campus supervisors will provide campus security, labor representatives said.

After two hours of closed-door deliberations, the board reconvened in open session, reserving potential action for further discussion after the regular meeting. In a vote taken later, the council decided 6-0 to fire Munn officially. Steve Grenbeaux recused himself because of the close association his family had with Munn while his daughter was at Modesto High.

Board members on Oct. 22 voted 6-0 to provisionally dismiss Munn on grounds of neglect of duty, insubordination and violation of a statute stemming from a March 18 incident in which Munn pushed a restrained student’s head to the floor, causing his nose to swell. The district released the transcript of that meeting in response to a public-records request from The Bee. (The document is available at this link, but readers should be aware that potentially objectionable language appears repeatedly.)

Munn has not spoken publicly about the case, but did put a statement on the Change.org site saying, in part, “None of this has been fair!” She has been on paid leave since shortly after the incident and the student was barred from the campus until January, his mother said.

As a campus supervisor at Modesto High, Munn has helped provide security on campus for 19 years and has broken up numerous fights. She is being represented through her union, the California School Employees Association.

At Tuesday’s meeting, CSEA labor representative Melody Honeychurch said other campus supervisors accused “of being overly aggressive” had been transferred to other sites, not dismissed.

Based on Munn’s case, the union is advising other campus supervisors not to intervene in student disruptions without a directive from a site administrator, except “if somebody’s really getting hurt,” Honeychurch said. “They’re fearful they’ll lose their jobs,” she said.

The meeting began with tearful goodbyes to departing board President Nancy Cline and appointee Stacey Morales, both of whom did not run to retain their seats. Board members-elect David Allen will take the full term seat and Jordan Dickson will be seated in the two-year chair vacated by Morales. Sue Zwahlen, Cindy Marks and Ruben Villalobos won re-election.

In regular session, the board voted 6-1 to award a contract for the long-awaited Enochs High pool. Villalobos cast the dissenting vote without comment. He has consistently opposed the pool, saying he disagrees with further spending of contested extra taxes imposed on Village I homeowners.

Acme Construction Co. Inc. was the low bidder by $300 after all the extras were included. The total Acme contract comes to $2,542,600, just under the next-closest bid by Simile Construction. As proposed, the bid includes the pool, scoreboard and timing system with speakers at each lane, water polo lines and nets, pace and shot clocks, and a night lighting system.

An additional $457,400 is budgeted for regulatory fees, inspections, testing and contingencies, bringing the total expected cost to $3 million. All but $48,000 of the money has been collected from extra property taxes and development fees paid by Village I and subdivisions in Riverbank and north Modesto. The district estimates the pool will cost $50,000 to $60,000 a year to maintain.

The board also voted unanimously to sponsor an existing Aspire charter school. Superintendent Pam Able recommended approval of the renewal for Aspire Vanguard College Preparatory Academy Charter, housed on the former Teel Middle School campus in Empire. It opened under the auspices of the State Board of Education and last year had 329 students in sixth through 12th grades.

Aside from a one-year, unprofitable experiment with an online school, it is the first charter school to be approved by the district.

Among other business, the board approved:

• An online prepayment system for student meals. About 30 percent of student meals in the district are paid for by parents. The rest are provided by the federal free lunch program.

• A United Way of Stanislaus County program to place graduation coaches at three junior high schools, a contribution of $200,000.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.

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