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“Sunshine is said to be the best of disinfectants.” – Louis Brandeis, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1913)

By Alex Welling

February 6, 2024 (El Cajon) -- On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Cajon Valley Union School District’s controversial special meeting to approve former Board President Tamara Otero’s $60,000 golden parachute, current Board President Jim Miller undercut the will of the people again.

Cajon Valley is no stranger to violating its bylaws and California’s signature open meetings law, the Brown Act. Over the years, lawsuits have been threatened and filed; however, no violation has been as overt as what happened at Tuesday’s special meeting. Board President Miller called for a last-minute, improperly noticed meeting at an inconvenient time to force through more than 500 Board Policy updates.

These policies are critical as they define the roles and responsibilities of the Board and its only employee, Superintendent David Miyashiro. They're also extremely controversial in the case of Cajon Valley.

Typically, school districts task parent advisory committees to review and recommend updates to existing policies, but not at Cajon Valley. The Superintendent and his staff unilaterally made updates to the policies with no meaningful input from the community.

For months, President Miller has been trying to force approval of these updates at regular meetings but faced stiff opposition from parents and community members who had legitimate concerns about proposed policy changes and simply wanted a voice in the process. Some concerning changes discovered by the community buried in the nearly 1,400-page document removed some whistleblower protections, eliminated the right of the public to know the Superintendent’s annual performance goals and removed annual inspections of ventilation systems. Despite these concerns and similar to the Otero contract, he bypassed the Board majority and community and scheduled a last-minute Special Meeting on a Tuesday at 10 a.m.

But why a special meeting and not a regular meeting?

According to the Brown Act and Board bylaws, a regular meeting requires 72 hours’ advanced notice be posted online and at the District office. This means the Board would have had to post a meeting notice at the latest on the preceding Friday, providing ample time for parents and community members to learn of the meeting and make arrangements to attend. A special meeting, on the other hand, only requires 24 hours’ notice, which allows less time to learn of the meeting and less time to prepare.

That said, the Board did not fulfill the requirements of the Brown Act or the Board bylaws, which requires the notice be placed both online, which it was, and posted at the District office, which it wasn’t, 24 hours in advance. When confronted, President Miller argued the Board was in “substantial compliance” with the Brown Act and Board Bylaws and could move forward.

Having served on a city ethics committee, I can assure you there is no such thing as substantial compliance when the words, “The notice shall…” are included in the Bylaws. “Shall,” means, mandatory, not optional or at the discretion of the President.

So now I ask why the urgency? The policies were out-of-date, yes, but were in compliance with applicable law. Were there poison pills included? Were there additional changes President Miller would prefer the public didn’t know about until it’s too late?

Unfortunately, time will tell.

In the face of these concerning actions by Board President Miller and the questionable handling of crucial policies at Cajon Valley, it’s clear that the need for new leadership is imperative. The repeated disregard for transparency, the rush to pass significant policy changes without proper community input, and the apparent evasion of noticing requirements are not indicative of responsible governance.

The citizens of Cajon Valley deserve leaders who prioritize open communication, respect due process, and uphold the principles of fiduciary responsibility. It is time for the community to shine a light on the need for change in leadership, ensuring that the path forward is one guided by integrity, collaboration, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of the students and families of Cajon Valley. It is time for the community to demand transparency and accountability from their school board.

Alex Welling is a lifelong resident of El Cajon and Chula Vista and a Candidate for Cajon Valley Union School District Board of Trustees Area 5. He is an award-winning public outreach/communications professional and currently serves as a Public Information Officer for Wildfire, Emergency Response, and Operations at San Diego Gas & Electric. Welling has two children with another on the way. His eldest will be attending Cajon Valley in the Fall.  The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.  To submit an editorial for consideration, contact


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CVUSD’s Board president is out of order!!!

On January 30th, the height of arrogance at the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) special Board meeting was on full display. The Board president’s actions culminated in a willful attempt to silence public input. Board president Miller, improperly executed parliamentary procedures calling a special meeting for the same agenda item that was tabled at the prior general meeting. Miller was on the losing end of the vote to table. This special meeting was his attempt to undermine his own Board majority and invoke his will. His actions were extremely unethical and did not meet the requirements to declare a special meeting was needed. After SIX years the superintendent neglected to agendize Board policy updates and now the Board has been tasked to vet over 600 policies. *The California School Boards Association (CSBA) releases updates for Board consideration at least three times a year. At this juncture it was suggested that a public/parent advisory committee be established to vet the policy updates, but that was soundly rejected by the president as he imposed every other kind of antic possible, such as polling the board regarding each policy and without public discussion. Also, over the past SIX years the superintendent failed to initiate a formal superintendent evaluation in accordance with Board policy and his contract. But hey, let’s tell him what he’s won… a healthy increase in salary and incentives, as the Board asks, “when is our next all-expense paid vacation?” During the special meeting and at the public’s urging the Board pulled at least seven policies for future discussion. This was extremely revealing as it showed the Board’s glaring incompetency to have properly vetted the revised policies. How many more policies were pushed through by the administration and a disinterested ineffective Board? When Member Carnevale asked for a Board Bylaw and Policy workshop in his first couple of months on the Board, he was denied. Under the leadership of Miller, a complacent Board, and a superintendent who has no regard for good governance… conflicts of interest, Brown Act violations and a lack of transparency is the oder of the day. *CSBA’s policy services, staff and legal counsel continually comb through new laws and regulations, as well as recent court decisions and other conditions to develop sample board policies and regulations to guide local districts. Updated sample policies are sent three times each year to Policy Services subscribers, and cite the legal and educational codes that apply. While CSBA’s sample policies offer options to consider when drafting a local policy, governance teams should consider how they might incorporate local values, beliefs and priorities in their final adopted policies. And policies that have the potential for creating controversy should be given extra attention, including review by legal counsel. That’s why the role of the board is so important. The policies have to resonate with the community. *** Without bylaws, there would be nothing governing the board and its trustees, which would not be conducive to best practices or long-term school viability… It’s time for ethical and responsible leadership. Watch how the public voice matters now, Mr. Miller. Ms. Schreiber served for 16 years on the Grossmont Union High School District Board of Trustees and was a delegate to the CA School Boards Association for 12 years.

This CVUSD special meeting

was called in the middle of the working day,  not in the evening like their regular meetings, and without even the required notice to hold an emergency special meeting.

Changing board policies does not seem to merit a special meeting especially without proper notice and at a time when most of the public cannot attend.