PVUSD Trustee Georgia Acosta (left), until recently the school board's president, and Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez.
PVUSD Trustee Georgia Acosta (left), until recently the school board’s president, and Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez.
(PVUSD and Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
K-12 Education

PVUSD trustees to consider censuring former president Georgia Acosta after superintendent saga

The censure proposal also lists issues that predate the controversial ouster of Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez. It alleges that Acosta has missed 26 board meetings, among other things.

As the fallout surrounding the brief and dramatic ouster of its superintendent earlier this year continues, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees will consider Wednesday whether to censure its former board president Georgia Acosta over her actions.

The 3-page resolution to censure Acosta lists a litany of complaints against her, from failing to provide notice to fellow board members or Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez that she was going to attempt to fire her to incurring more than $16,000 in legal expenses “for her unauthorized actions to terminate” Rodriguez.

The board earlier this month voted against paying the legal fees accrued during the brief ouster of Rodriguez in late January. The expenses were authorized by Acosta without approval from the rest of the board, in an apparent violation of board policy. The tab is the result of dozens of hours of work performed by attorneys throughout January in connection with weeks of preparation, and days of fallout, from Rodriguez’s abrupt dismissal.

Rodriguez’s Jan. 27 firing was reversed only days later after widespread public outcry. The board that same day also voted to remove Acosta from her position as board president but she remains on the board itself.

A voicemail and email to Acosta seeking comment Sunday were not immediately returned.

The resolution to censure Acosta (a copy of which is included at the end of this story) also states that she failed to participate in any closed session special board meetings to evaluate Rodriguez and “only completed one of four evaluations” of the superintendent.

It further alleges that Acosta “divulged confidential information to a former employee and a community member regarding her efforts to terminate” Rodriguez and “sought their advice on the procedure to follow before any information was conveyed to other Board members.”

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The Jan. 27 virtual meeting that led to Rodriguez’s initial firing was arranged by Acosta on her own “on an unauthorized and unsecured platform,” according to the resolution. And Acosta prevented Rodriguez from attending it, the resolution states.

The resolution also lists issues that predate the ouster of Rodriguez. It alleges that Acosta has missed 26 board meetings and has left six meetings before the business on the agenda was completed.

The resolution also states that Acosta has participated on no board committees since she began her tenure on the board and was accused of violating the Brown Act after her election to the board in 2018. She then failed to participate in any of the training for board members which resolved the Brown Act violation complaint, according to the resolution.

Wednesday’s potential censure comes as Acosta is facing mounting calls to resign from the board or face recall, including from Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo and former PVUSD trustee Jane Barr.

Acosta has served as PVUSD’s Trustee Area II representative since 2016. Bounded to the west by Green Valley Road, the trustee area encompasses northeastern Watsonville to the Santa Clara County line.

Lookout’s past coverage:

Jan. 28: No reason for firing given, ousted PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez says

Jan. 29: PVUSD trustees reverse course, vote to consider reinstating fired Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez

Jan. 30: Why did actor Edward James Olmos turn up at a Pajaro Valley Unified school board meeting?

Jan. 31: PVUSD trustees unanimously reinstate fired Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez, change board leadership

Feb. 1: Reinstated PVUSD superintendent Michelle Rodriguez back to work after ‘hardest 36 hours of my life’

Feb. 2: Two PVUSD trustees cited ‘death threats’ amid Michelle Rodriguez saga. Days later, police say none reported

Feb. 18: INVESTIGATION: Were shaky finances behind PVUSD superintendent’s firing? Hastily deleted post reveals tension

March 6: PVUSD school board to review $16K in questionable legal fees racked up during superintendent saga

March 10: PVUSD board votes against paying $16K in legal fees authorized by its former president

Read the resolution